UPDATED: WPD chief will participate in march, says law enforcement presence will be strong


Updated with press release from Worthington Police Department Chief of Police Troy Appel, 3:23 p.m. Tuesday:

City of Worthington police officers and other staff have been cooperating with a group of local people who plan to conduct a peace and solidarity march today at 5:00 PM. The march will start at the Worthington High School and will go from Marine Ave, to eastbound on Oxford and turn back westbound on Oxford at Omaha Ave to return to the High School. Temporary road closures including portions of Oxford Street and connected roadways will occur. The event is planned to be concluded by 7:30 PM. Many rumors have been circulating through social media and other sources regarding various outside influence to this event. There is no credible information related to the rumors. This is expected to be a peaceful event.

WORTHINGTON — In Minneapolis and in other large cities throughout the country, protests called to honor the memory of George Floyd have turned violent. To help ensure that the march scheduled to happen in Worthington this afternoon is as peaceful and safe as it is intended to be, police chief Troy Appel plans to attend as a marcher himself.

The march was organized entirely by local people. who did not invite out-of-town groups to join the protest.


Appel said local law enforcement will have a strong presence on local streets nonetheless, but he also said the march allows for important lessons in tolerance and good will to be on display.

“That’s what I talk to the department about, to do what we can to be part of the community. I’d rather be part of it than not know what’s going on,” he said.

Of course, there are risks. Several local businesses reacted to the news of a march this morning by boarding up windows and closing their doors early. One only has to watch cable news to see the carnage that has happened in Minneapolis, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and other large cities to know how protests designed for understanding and togetherness can go haywire.

On May 25, Floyd was arrested by a Minneapolis police officer, who pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck while the 46-year-old black man struggled to breathe. Floyd died later, and the officer has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

As the local police chief, Appel understands the dangers of organizing a march as well as anyone. But he’s looking upon it also as an opportunity.

“Considering the risks associated with what’s happening in Sioux Falls, we’re not really concerned with the march in itself,” he said. “We’re just concerned with what can follow. We’re obviously prepared as a police force.

“It’s sad that our world can turn into this so quickly,” he added. “Hopefully we can all look back (after today is over) and see that we were overprepared. But we also know we have to be ready.”

Appel, who will be joined in today’s march by police captain Nate Grimmius, said that the department has worked tirelessly to show community leaders and regular citizens — from the oldest on down — that they exist to protect and serve.


He said that since he’s been police chief, nearly a thousand visits have been made to schools. Appel himself reads books to kindergardeners and holds classes, talking about what police do while answering questions. The children leave with a sticker.

“We’re almost like celebrities, because they can’t get enough of us,” he said.

So far, so good with promoting an image of trust.

“As a police department, we’ve worked really hard to create good relationships with our community, and we’ve been very successful with that,” said the police chief.

So while walking today with the marchers, Appel says he intends to continue sharing that good will.

“I’m just going to remind them that this is our city,” he said, “and the only way we’re going to make it better is to do things like this.”

Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at
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