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St. Paul gets two ‘bright idea’ awards from Harvard’s Ash Center

Police response to domestic violence and home safety inspections get awards. Hennepin and Ottertail counties get kudos, too.

Two public safety programs run by the city of St. Paul were among the winners of “Bright Awards” given today by Harvard’s Ash Center.

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University recognized 111 innovative government initiatives. More than 600 ideas were submitted.

St. Paul’s two awards were:

Replicating the Blueprint for Safety
The St. Paul Police Department created Replicating the Blueprint for Safety, a comprehensive, interagency guide for processing domestic violence-related criminal cases. The Blueprint links every practitioner from 911 dispatchers to the judges and outlines each person’s role and responsibilities in protecting victims and holding perpetrators accountable. Agencies moved from operating individually to collectively working together to more effectively respond to domestic violence.

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Residential Life-Safety Inspection Program
The residential life-safety inspection program uses a predetermined point system to provide incentives for keeping residents and fire fighters safe. Saint Paul performs inspections on all rental properties in the city, ties the success of that inspection to future ones, and applies a fee in order to recover its costs.

St. Paul officials said that Fire Inspections teams check one- and two-family rental units for safety and provide safety information to residents. They say the program is effective in protecting residents and firefighters, and that landlords pay a fee to cover the cost.

Two other Minnesota innovations were among the Ash Center winners:

Public Health Information System
Otter Tail County in partnership with 26 counties, MN
As members of a county computer cooperative and partial owners of the PH-Doc Information System, 27 counties designed and developed an interoperable public health information system. The system provides access to bi-directional exchange of immunization records and continuity of care documents.

Results Only Work Environment
Hennepin County, MN
Hennepin County has increased employee productivity and morale, attracted quality applicants, and reduced costs through the implementation of a Results Only Work Environment, whereby all staff members work towards and are evaluated on clearly defined results and have significant control over their work and lives. Staff members are encouraged to work together to build in flexibility wherever they can and work when and where they are the most productive as long as customers’ needs are met in a timely, appropriate, and seamless manner.