ROGERS -- The City Council voted Tuesday to update Police Department policies and accept federal grant money, some of which will be used for covid-19 relief.
Police Chief Hayes Minor said the department tweaks its policies annually. A ban on chokeholds is included in this year's changes. Minor said the department hasn't used chokeholds in his 27 years at the department and the policy will not change anything for the department.
However, the Police Department hadn't explicitly banned chokeholds and needed to do so to be in compliance with new federal policies and continue to receive federal money, he said.
The new federal policies were put into place after the May death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for more than 8 minutes.
The department also adopted a peer-to-peer support program "designed to assist employees with stress management, crisis management, depression, burn-out, suicide prevention, along with any other unforeseen complications that may arise in the law enforcement profession," according to the policy.
Selected police officers will receive training in peer support and be assigned to officers who request assistance overcoming obstacles in their personal or professional lives, according to the policy.
The council also accepted a $356,000 community block grant.
"A lot of it will be used for rental and mortgage payments and utility assistance for our residents in Rogers who are going through some difficult times," said Donna Johnston, the city's grant administrator.
"It will also be used to provide food at the food bank. We're even using some of it to get a commercial-type freezer and warming pans to keep food warm especially like at the Samaritan Community Center -- they do a hot meal every day," she said.
All items passed unanimously with council member Clay Kendall absent. The council held its meeting online in light of the covid-19 pandemic.