Minneapolis Police Department

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Minneapolis Police Department
MN - Minneapolis Police.png
Minneapolis Police Department badge.png
Motto"To Protect with Courage, To Serve with Compassion!"
Agency overview
Preceding agency
  • Municipal Police
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionMinneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Hennepin County Minnesota Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Minneapolis Highlighted.svg
Map of Minneapolis Police Department's jurisdiction.
Size58.4 square miles (151 km2)
Population424,256 (2020)
Governing bodyMinneapolis City Council
General nature
Operational structure
Overviewed by Civilian BoardMinneapolis Civilian Police Review Authority Board
HeadquartersDowntown Minneapolis City Hall
Police Officers800
Agency executives
  • Medaria Arradondo, Chief of Police[1]
  • Mike Kjos, Assistant Chief
  • 4 Deputy Chiefs, Deputy Chief of Patrol, Deputy Chief of Investigations, Deputy Chief of Professional Standards, Deputy Chief of Staff
  • 5 Precinct Commanders, Inspector
Stations, Substations, and Safety Centers9
HelicoptersAvailable from the Minnesota State Patrol[2]
Minneapolis Police

The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) is a police department located in the U.S. city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is the largest police department in Minnesota. Formed in 1867, it is the second oldest police department in the State of Minnesota, after the Saint Paul Police Department (formed in 1854). A short-lived Board of Police Commissioners existed from 1887 to 1890.

The modern department is organized into four bureaus all reporting to the Assistant Chief of Police Mike Kijos who then reports to the Chief of Police Medaria Arradondo.

The city is served through five precincts[3] with 800 sworn officers and 300 civilian employees.[4] At the city's population peak, MPD served over 521,000 people, and today serves over 425,000 people as of the last Census estimate.

The MPD answers 400,000 calls a year for service and does 50,000 proactive stops a year. In comparison HCMC EMS answers 60,000 calls a year for service. The MFD answers 40,000 calls a year for service.[5][6][7]

Other independent protection organizations also serve the city, identified as partner law enforcement agencies, these are the University of Minnesota Police Department (UMPD), Minneapolis Park Police, Metro Transit Police, and the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office. The Metropolitan Airports Commission Police serves the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport in unincorporated Hennepin County.


Traffic patrol officer in 1987.

In the 19th century, the City of St. Anthony and Town of Minneapolis were first adequately served by an appointed city marshal based out of St. Anthony who was assisted by constables. Vested with the power of arrest, they rarely used it.[8] Criminals sentenced would be sent to Ramsey County Jail or the Stillwater Penitentiary until the Hennepin County Courthouse and Jail was built in 1857. When the two cities merged and incorporated as Minneapolis in 1867, Mayor Dorilus Morrison immediately appointed H. H. Brackett as the first police chief. With six patrolmen, the new Police Department of Minneapolis served a population of about 5,000 people.[4] In 1884, the force numbered 100 men and Shingle Creek workhouse was completed.

In 1887, by act of the new Minnesota Legislature and accorded by the Minneapolis City Council, the Board of Police Commissioners was appointed. Vesting all control of the force to the Board, it was an attempt to thwart the corrupt Mayor "Doc" Ames who had replaced the police force with crooks.[9] The Board was short-lived for three terms until it was abolished in 1890 and a new mayor was elected. Military titles were also abolished. By then the city grew to 200,000 people with 200 officers on a budget of $209,278.[8] Patrols were done on foot and by horseback with headquarters at city hall. By 1909, the department added motorcycles, fingerprinting, and utilized telephones. The MPD started using automobiles for patrol in the 1920s and had most patrol officers in cars by the 1930s.

In the 1930s the MPD was involved in ending labor disputes and fighting gangsters involved in organized crime. During World War II 117 MPD officers fought for the United States in the armed forces. In the 1950s population growth increased the city to over 500,000 residents with nearly 600 sworn officers to protect them. In 1952 the Drunkometer, forerunner to the intoxilyzer, was first used in Minneapolis. During the 1960s major riots along Plymouth Avenue resulted in the creation of a Community Relations Division. The 1970s saw the first use of mobile digital technology (MDTs) in squad cars. In the 1980s and 1990s community-oriented policing became paramount. In an effort to get closer to the community the Community Crime Prevention/SAFE Unit was created.[10]

Community relations

The department sought to strengthen community relations with its Community Crime Prevention/Safety for Everyone (CCP/SAFE) program. Specialists were trained to assist neighborhoods in organizing block clubs and disseminate crime information to residents.[11] The Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) which began in 1960 has just begun to realize its infrastructure and community improvements, as neighborhoods once severely impacted by crime and deterioration had begun to turn around. The Whittier neighborhood became a model example of the program's benefit.[12] CODEFOR which stands for Computer Optimized DEployment - Focus On Results finally reached a decade of data collection revealing definitive crime trends and in 2007, the precincts implemented official neighborhood policing plans based on this data.[13]


Minneapolis Police intervene in an open battle between striking truckers armed with pipes and the citizen's army (militia), June 1934.[14]

The Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934 was set in May 1934 in the city market (North Loop, Minneapolis) when a new truckers union was not recognized. MPD attempted to open the markets, which were the source of most goods and produce in the city but were blocked by teamsters. Assisted by the Minnesota National Guard and a local militia, the two sides clashed violently for a month with police using gas bombs and brandishing rifles.[15] It ended on August 21 when the union was recognized. Though 200 were injured and four were killed, the strike was a significant event in state and national labor history.[16]

With American prosperity, Minneapolis reached its peak population of over 521,000 in the 1950 Census and MPD had nearly 600 sworn officers. The demographics of Minneapolis also identified in the 1950 census as 98% white.[4] While national politics and anti-communism sentiment played out during this decade, urban renewal ravaged the downtown areas and cleared slums, impacting poor communities.[17] Police contended with protests to this clearance and freeway and expressway revolts later in the 1960s.

Protests and riots

From 2005 to 2006, officers monitored protest rallies against the War in Iraq, here in downtown Minneapolis.

The 1960s posed new challenges to the department from increased drug use, counterculture, and societal unrest. Rioting in Minneapolis followed similarly to inequality riots across many major U.S. cities during that era in predominantly African-American communities.[18] Most notably, the Plymouth Avenue Riots in the Near North neighborhood, instigated by East Coast protesters, effectively emptied the area of Jewish and German businesses.[19] The Police Department's poor engagement with the riots resulted in the Community Relations Division and the Model Cities Precinct in 1970.[20] The Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment was conducted in 1981 and the study's prolific release led to changes in police protocol with domestic calls in other departments, notably, New York City, Dallas, and New Zealand.[21] From this tumultuous era, the construction of the freeway system and subsequent white flight emptied Minneapolis' population to a low of 368,383 in 1990. However the demand for policing continued to rise to over 700 officers in that decade as drug use and gang activity continued to accelerate.[22]

In 1998, the re-routing of Minnesota State Highway 55 brought protests from the Hiawatha neighborhood of Longfellow community and members of the Mendota Mdewakanton community. Police protection was ordered for construction workers.[23] In July 2000, a clash with protesters at an International Society of Animal Genetics conference and a following raid on a non-profit office suspected of organizing the protest drew attention of the City Council.[24] They publicly questioned Chief Olson who revealed that 40 undercover police agents were in the demonstrations and that 400 to 500 Minneapolis police officers were assigned to the week-long conference.[25]

Crime and crime rates

Minneapolis is in top 25 in the nation for most crime of cities with over 100,000 residents. Some years MPLS is in the top ten in the nation for cities with most crime but that is very few years. There are 311 cities with over 100,000 residents in the USA. MPLS is also in the top 100 in the nation for cities with most crime usually coming in around 50. There are over 20,000 cities in the nation. The top 100 with most crime make up 0.5% of cities.[26][27][28][29]

In 1995, Mark Koscielski, a gun shop owner in present-day Midtown Phillips coined the term "Murderapolis." His T-shirts featuring the derisive term were quoted in a New York Times article.[30] Murders had indeed peaked that year and the department sent three officers to New York City to study the Fixing Broken Windows crime-prevention program implemented by then Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Police Chief William Bratton.[31] The officers returned to implement a new policing strategy, the Computer Optimized DEployment - Focus On Results (CODEFOR). A computer-based system, the strategy involves every unit of the MPD from patrol to special units to identify and concentrate policing on hot spots of crime. As technology has improved, the department continued to collect and increase reliance on statistical and data-based information.[32]

Similar to other cities nationally, crime plummeted in Minneapolis by 42% from 2005 to 2011.[33][34]

Organized crime

Chief Frank W. Brunskill inspecting officers at station Number 5 in 1925. Brunskill was also at the heart of Supreme Court case Near v. Minnesota involving Minnesota's Gag Law.[35]

In the 1920s, criminal activity had grown to an alarming level. Saint Paul's Chief of Police, John J. O'Connor, established the O'Connor System which allowed gang-land criminals to live in the city as long as they committed no crimes there. In exchange, police provided protection and tips regarding impending federal raids and helped keep criminals free by refusing to extradite them elsewhere.[36][37] As a result, high-profile criminals such as Machine Gun Kelly, John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson took refuge in St. Paul and committed crimes across the region, including Minneapolis. These criminals then fled to St. Paul, where they were all but untouchable. Soon, the corruption spread to the Minneapolis Police Department, who instituted their own similar system.[38] An Irishman named Edward G. "Big Ed" Morgan operated a gambling den under police protection but also commanded crime in partnership with Prohibition bootleggers. Then, Danny Hogan, an underworld "Godfather" of Saint Paul allied with Morgan.[37]

The police of Minneapolis and St. Paul are said not to interfere with these criminals, there being an understanding between Dan Hogan and the St. Paul Police and Edward Morgan and the Minneapolis Police that if the criminal gangs controlled by them refrain from committing crime in the Twin Cities, that they will not be disturbed. It is a well known fact in the community that a very little crime such as bank robberies, etc, is committed here, the criminals are safe as long as they live up to the pledge made by Dan Hogan and Edward Morgan to the local police.|1926 FBI Memo|[37]

The Department profiled the community's Chinese population in response to Minneapolis events of the Tong wars killings between the local Hip Sing Tong and On Leong Tong.[39] The raids and arrests were ineffective and no Chinese were deported. The tensions faded with the gradual assimilation of the city's small Chinese population and repeal of exclusion laws.[39]

The Great Depression and the 1930s followed similarly to other growing U.S. cities as the department quelled labor disputes and continued to fight gangsters during the waning years of Prohibition. On December 16, 1932, members of the infamous Barker-Karpis gang robbed the Third Northwestern Bank in downtown Northeast, Minneapolis and killed responding policemen Ira Leon Evans and Leo Gorski. The sensational manner in which the gang blasted their way out led to an intense manhunt that netted some of the culprits but not the leaders who had fled.[40][41] In a sign of the Great Depression, the city controller's office revealed that the two patrolmen had been working without pay due to a shortage in the police fund.[42] Mayor Anderson blamed "large taxpayers" as not paying their fair share of taxes, shortening the police budget and limiting the department's ability to fund and equip officers.[40]


Minneapolis has over 20 gangs with over 1,000 gang members. Police say gangs account for at least 50% of the violent crime in Minneapolis [43][44][45] Tensions among gangs following the acquittal of officers in the Rodney King beating trial in Los Angeles led to one of Minneapolis' darkest moments.[46] On September 25, 1992, Officer Jerome (Jerry) Haaf was taking a break at the officers' popular Pizza Shack restaurant in Phillips and was shot behind the back by two Vice Lord gang members. The investigator with him was also wounded. Haaf died from his wounds at Hennepin County Medical Center and the members were later caught, convicted and sent to prison.[47] Chief John Laux suggested the murder was possibly retaliation for an earlier incident in which Metro Transit Police removed a blind black man who did not have bus fare. At a community meeting earlier in the evening at North Community High School, gang members interrupted calling police brutality and insensitivity.[46] The group's message had exacerbated a real ongoing issue of police brutality in the latter century. Former police chief Tony Bouza who oversaw the department in the 1980s called the force at the time "brutal." Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, an African-American herself, stated in 1994 that excessive force was a problem.[48]

Disaster response and military support

Minnesota State Patrol squads with a University of Minnesota Police squad in the rear at the site of the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse.

Assistant Chief Tim Dolan succeeded McManus and was shortly promoted to Police Chief.[49] Sharon Lubinski was appointed Assistant Chief.[50] Under Chief Dolan's watch, the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapsed on August 1, 2007. Agencies involved in the recovery efforts operated smoothly under post 9/11 disaster and emergency management training. Providing 75 law enforcement units,[51] the MPD's immediate role was to ensure safety and control of neighborhoods surrounding the bridge. For several months after, the traffic control unit was on call to direct traffic.[52] The Minneapolis Emergency Communications Center (911 center) was recognized in 2008 for their efficient role in the incident.[53]

During World War II, 117 MPD officers were sent to Europe. At home, the stress of the war and fear of attack developed into air raid drills where two wardens were assigned to each city block.[54] Following the war, the program was chartered by the city as the Police Reserve under MPD's Civil Defense unit in 1952.[55] The Reserve bolsters MPD presence at major events to this day.

Officers killed in the line of duty

52 Officers and 3 canines have been killed in the line of duty while working for the MPD. The first Officer to be killed in the line of duty was killed by gunfire on 7-28-1884. The last time a MPD Officer was killed in the line of duty was 5-29-2009. Below is a list of the ways MPD officers have been killed in the line of duty. [56] [57]

Animal related 1

Assault 3

Automobile crash 1

Drowned 1

Electrocuted 1

Gunfire 28

Heart attack 4

Motorcycle crash 5

Struck by vehicle 6

Vehicle pursuit 1

Vehicular assault 1

August and May have been the deadliest months for MPD officers.

Misconduct and internal affairs


In 1989, the department conducted a drug raid at the home of an elderly couple, Lloyd Smalley and Lillian Weiss, after receiving inaccurate information from an informant. The flashbang grenades police used in the raid set the home on fire. Police said they were certain no one was inside, and so, at first, made no attempt at rescue. Smalley and Weiss died of smoke inhalation.[58][59][60][61][62]

In 2010, police raided the apartment of Rickia Russell looking for illegal drugs. While Russell was eating dinner with her boyfriend, police threw a flashbang grenade after breaching the door. The exploding flashbang gave Russell third degree burns on both calves, and burns to her head. The contraband the squad was looking for was not found in the apartment, and the Minneapolis City Council agreed to pay $1 million in damages.[63]

In 2016, a study commissioned by the City's Police Conduct Oversight Commission found that making a misconduct complaint at most Minneapolis Police precincts or online resources was difficult if not nearly impossible. When undercover lawyers tested Department personnel and system they observed numerous cases of obstruction or unnecessarily complicated processes.[64][65][66] Notably, the Department's 4th Precinct, which is located in north Minneapolis, a hotspot for crime and tensions between police and the community, was found to be the best at receiving complaints at the time. Perhaps related to heavy scrutiny it received after the police Shooting of Jamar Clark, a young black man there, in 2015.

When citizens have succeeded in filing complaints about Minneapolis police misconduct, however, little meaningful action has been taken by the Department. During one period more than half of the 439 reviewed complaint cases were dismissed because they were older than 270 days. No officers were disciplined.[67]

Misconduct lawsuits

Minneapolis made $14 million in payouts for alleged police misconduct between 2006 and 2012 [68]

Hamza Jeylani threat

In 2015, Minneapolis officer Rod Webber threatened a black teenager, Hamza Jeylani, who captured the incident on his phone. "Plain and simple, I'm going to be honest with you. If you fuck with me I'm going to break your legs," Webber told Jeylani. When Jeylani asked Webber why he was being pulled over, Webber replied, "because I feel like arresting you."[69] Webber was subsequently fired.[70]

Green Bay incident[when?]

The Department did respond, however, when the Green Bay, Wisconsin Police Department responded to a disturbance that two off-duty Minneapolis police officers were involved in. Both officers were subsequently fired. The incident began with Brian Powell and Shawn Thune, both employed at the department's north Minneapolis precinct at the time, texting a Green Bay officer he knew, Nate Allen, referring to Allen as "Nigs," and, when Allen did not respond, "you faggots." Referring to a black man who drove by, he said to Allen and another Green Bay officer, "What is that? Green Bay is too nigger friendly." Powell repeated the racial slur a number of times later related to a clash he and Thule had with four black men, at least one of whom Powell hit in the face. Questioned about what started the incident, Powell told Green Bay police that the other men were "doing their monkey shit." [71] When Green Bay officers did not pursue the black citizens, the Minneapolis officers became abusive with their professional peers, calling them "fucking jokes," and repeatedly disparaging them with similar language. Thule tried to talk them out of making a report because, he said, "I have a lesbian fucking chief who's looking to fire people for any reason."[72]

Both officers had previous misconduct issues. Powell was involved in a lawsuit against the City related to he and other officers severely beating an African American man in 2010. The suit was settled with Minneapolis paying the victim $235,000.[73] Powell was also involved in a lawsuit for the wrongful death of a Somalian man who, according to legal documents, was brutally assaulted, tortured and killed.[74]

Mike Spann beating

Three white Minneapolis police officers were charged in the beating of an African American man in a suburb south of Minneapolis, in 2013. William C. Woodis, Christopher J. Bennett and Andrew R. Allen were off-duty and having drinks at a bar when a black man introduced himself to them. When Apple Valley, Minnesota police were called the officers claimed that Spann followed them out of the bar, but security camera footage showed them following him. Spann's nephew, who was also hit by the officers, as well as another witness who did not know Spann or the officers, said that the officers were "on attack." Woodis and Bennett pled guilty to misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct. Charges against Allen were dropped.[citation needed]

Civil rights stalls

In 2002, Olson was accused of stalling federal U.S. Department of Justice mediation between the MPD and hometown civil rights groups focused around North Minneapolis.[75] Unpopular with Mayor R. T. Rybak, Olson was ousted in 2003 and William McManus was appointed, former chief of Dayton, Ohio, and former assistant chief in Washington, D.C.[76] His tenure was intended to reverse Olson's past actions. McManus worked on improving internal promotions and politics within the department to achieve racial equality in officer ranks. The attempted overhaul of Internal Affairs and greater attention over policing did generate larger respect for the department from communities of color and even gang members.[77] However, his support was split in the Council, and though personally endorsed, he conflicted with Mayor Rybak over promotions and the handling of the 2003 Duy Ngo incident, in which Ngo, an undercover officer, was shot by another officer.[22] In early 2006, facing an uncertain reconfirmation for a second three-year term, McManus sought and accepted the police chief position in San Antonio, Texas.[78][79]

Though McManus improved internal diversity during his tenure, his efforts did not address department racism, traced to former chief Olson, and continuing under chief Harteau.[50][80][81] In December 2007, five high ranking black police officers filed a lawsuit against the department alleging a long history of systemic racial discrimination and a hostile working environment toward black officers[82] and in April 2009, the city settled with them for $740,000.[83]

Murder of Justine Damond

On July 15, 2017. Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a 40 year old Australian-American woman, called 911 to report a woman possibly being raped in an alley behind her house. When the police arrived, she was shot and killed by police officer Mohamed Noor, of Somali-American descent, who had been on the force for two years. Following an eight month investigation from Hennepin county attorney's office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Noor was charged with third degree murder, second intentional murder and second degree manslaughter. In April 2019, Noor was convicted of third degree murder and second degree manslaughter but acquitted of second degree murder. On June 7, 2019, Noor was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison. Damond's family brought a civil lawsuit against the City of Minneapolis alleging violation of Damond's civil rights, which the city settled for $US20 million, one of the largest-ever settlements in a suit involving a police killing. In July 2019, Noor filed an appeal to overturn his convictions of third degree murder and second degree manslaughter, the appeal is still pending.

Racial disparities

In 2001, the tactic of racial profiling came to issue as the State Legislature attempted to mandate data collection of a person's race in traffic stops to reveal profiling trends. Though the measure was defeated, departments were offered incentives to volunteer for a pilot project to collect the data.[84] MPD released its report in 2003 indicating it was more likely to stop a non-white person. The city under Mayor R.T. Rybak convened an audit of MPD to determine why and formulate steps to address the issue.[85]

Despite these and other programs and promises of police reform, actual improvements have been only marginally effective and, according to some, have regressed going into 2016.[86][87][88]

Low level arrests

Black people account for 60% of Minneapolis Police Department's low-level arrests, overall. Between 2012-14 Minneapolis police arrested blacks nearly ten (10) times more for low-level offenses than whites. Police officers have more options for how to respond to low-level offenses, which, if they lead to an arrest can start or sustain a downward spiral of a life-cycle of arrests, incarceration and unemployment. Of nearly 10,000 low-level arrests over 33 months made by 1,017 Minneapolis officers between 2013–14, the vast majority were made by eight officers. Seven averaged between 1,000-1,250. One made 2,026. In 2014, The average low-level arrests per officer was 51. Even taking out the eight officers who make the majority of arrests, black citizens were still arrested 8.5 times more than whites were for overall low-level violations. Low-level offenses include things like: curfew violations, loitering, trespassing, drinking in public, and open bottle.[89]

In a letter [90] to Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and chief Harteau, the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota and its Criminal Law Reform Project reported that the State of Minnesota was the third highest in the country for arrests for possession of marijuana, at nearly 8%, compared to the national average of under 4%; and that Minneapolis Police Department's rates "are even worse." Between 2004 and 2012 the Department was, on average, 11.51 times more likely to arrest an African American person than a white person for marijuana possession. The inequities extended past controlled substances arrests. For the same period Minneapolis blacks were 8.86 more likely than whites to be arrested for disorderly conduct, 7.54 times more likely than whites to be arrested for vagrancy; and Minneapolis youth were 16.39 times more likely than white youth to be arrested for curfew or loitering offenses.[91]

Incarceration rates

As the largest city in Hennepin County, Minneapolis contributes significantly to its disproportionate incarceration of black citizens. In 2012-14 the incarceration rate for blacks was nearly 10 times that of the whites. In 2015, 50% of all youth imprisoned in the State of Minnesota were black youth from Hennepin County.[92] That same year, 35% of adult inmates in Minnesota, 25% of whom were from Hennepin County, were black.[93]

Police shootings

Of the 149 Minnesotans killed by police between 2000 and 2015, over a one-third (67) were "people of color".[94][95]

The Minneapolis police shooting of Jamar Clark on November 16, 2015 heightened tensions between the city and its citizens. Clark, a 24-year-old African-American man who family say was starting to find his way after a troubled past, died two days later. Police said that Clark reached for Officer Mark Ringgenberg's gun when Officer Dustin Schwarze shot him. Officer Schwarze and Officer Ringgenberg responded to a domestic violence call, but several witnesses disagreed, saying that Clark was handcuffed and thus unable to at the time. Video showed the struggle and confirmed that Clark did indeed try to disarm Officer Riggenberg. Mayor Betsy Hodges requested an investigation by the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division of the federal government.[96] The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) arrived a week later. Eight months later, Hodges announced that the DOJ had declined to bring civil rights charges confirming the officers' account of the incident.[97]

Both Schwarze and Riggenberg had been previously falsely sued for misconduct in federal court.[98][99]

Nonviolent demonstrations

In response to the Clark shooting, citizens organized an extended sit-in at the Department's Fourth Precinct, which is responsible for public safety in north Minneapolis, where Clark had been killed. Numerous other demonstrations were held in and around Minneapolis, calling for charges against the officers and the release of videotapes of the incident. Online efforts, including from a petition by Color of Change with 70,000 signatures,[100] supported the in-community protests.

City leaders and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) refused to release the videotapes, citing the ongoing investigation. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton was allowed to view them and reported that they were "inconclusive." In February 2016, the NAACP and ACLU sued the DOJ to release the videotapes.[101][102][103]

Police and protesters initially exchanged charges of violence by the other at the precinct occupation, but, police Chief Harteau denied claims that protesters had fired shots and thrown molotov cocktails, instead blaming the incitements on "anarchists" from outside the area.[104]

Black Lives Matter demanded that Hennepin County bypass the traditional Grand Jury process for determining whether to press charges against the officers, arguing that Grand Juries rarely prosecute police. In November 2015, Freeman initially balked.[105] But, in a victory for protestors who had conducted weekly demonstrations at his office for what they called Freeman Fridays, the prosecutor changed his mind with a statement released on March 16, 2016, citing the fact that Grand Jury proceedings lack the level of transparency the citizens were demanding. In addition, Freeman also announced that he would stop all use of Grand Juries in any future police-involved shootings.[106] On March 30, 2016 Freeman announced that he would not charge the officers, citing evidence that they'd acted within legal boundaries.[107]

Minnesota Lynx

Minneapolis police officers rejected a T-shirt that Minnesota Lynx captains wore at a pregame press conference meant to draw attention to problems between police and blacks, with four of them announcing they would disrupt their off-hours contracts to provide security for the Lynx WNBA basketball games.[108] The front of the shirts featured the phrase "Change Starts With Us: Justice & Accountability." On the back was the Dallas Police Department emblem and two black men, to honor Dallas officers who had been killed in a mass shooting during a protest there, and the names of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling who had been killed by police in Falcon Heights, Minnesota and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, respectively; the bottom read "Black Lives Matter." Other current and retired professional teams and athletes supported the players.

The Lynx players made clear that they sought healing and progress not blame.

You'll see on the backs of our shirts that we're highlighting a longtime problem of racial profiling and unjust violence against blacks in our country. But we do not in any way condone violence against the men and women who service in our police force. Senseless violence and retaliation will not bring us peace.

— Lynx Captain Maya Moore, in a pregame press conference

Chief Harteau expressed disappointment in the officers. "Although these officers were working on behalf of the Lynx, when wearing a Minneapolis Police uniform. I expect all officers to adhere to our core values and to honor their oath of office," she said in a statement addressing their announcement. "Walking off the job and defaulting their contractual obligation to provide a service to the Lynx does not conform to the expectations held by the public for the uniform these officers wear." Mayor Hodges comments were even stronger in her response to ugly comments by the head of the police union.[109]

In contrast to the police chief, the president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis called the team "pathetic" while saying he "commended" the officers, before threatening that other officers might follow suit, saying: "If (the players) are going to keep their stance, all officers may refuse to work there."[110]

"Bob Kroll's remarks about the Lynx are jackass remarks," wrote the mayor on a Facebook post. "Bob Kroll sure as hell doesn't speak for me about the Lynx or about anything else."[111]

Rape kits

The department has a large backlog of rape kits it has never tested. In 2015, 194 such kits were discovered. Mayor Jacob Frey called the unprocessed evidence an “unjustified mistake.” In 2019, about an additional 1,700 untested kits were found. Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said he had no explanation for the discrepancy in the reported numbers or why so many kits went untested.[112]


Traffic control in 1959.

The head of the Minneapolis Police Department is the Chief of Police and the Assistant Chief.[4] The department is organized into three administrative bureaus: Patrol, Investigations, and Professional Standards each led by a Deputy Chief. The Patrol Bureau divides the city into five precincts each with a Precinct Commander, given the rank of Inspector. MPD operates under a decentralized structure giving independence to each precinct and bureau to manage crime and policing.

The MPD has 800 police officers (a Chief, an assistant chief, four deputy chiefs, five inspectors and nine commanders). Of the 800 police officers 100 are lieutenants, 200 are sergeants, and 500 are officers. 45 lieutenants oversee specialty units, 40 oversee investigative units and only 15 oversee patrol shifts. 100 sergeants work in investigations. 50 sergeants work in specialty units and 50 work in patrol. 300 officers work in patrol while 200 are in specialty units.[113]

Patrol Bureau

Minneapolis Police car with livery used from the early 1990s to late 2000s.

The Patrol Bureau provides comprehensive police services such as 911 response, crime prevention, traffic control and emergency services. The bureau comprises the five precincts, the Special Operations Division, Community Crime Prevention/SAFE Central and the Police Athletic League.

Each Precinct has a CRT (Community Response Team) that does undercover street level narcotics and prostitution investigations as well as plain clothes patrol. Each Precinct also has a directed patrol beat unit the does uniform or plain clothes patrol in cars, on foot or on bikes. The beats do crowd control, directed patrol in high crime areas or crime specific patrol like gang or drug suppression. They also serve as the primary responder to special events and demonstrations that have a risk for civil disorder.[114]

Special Operations Division

Minneapolis Traffic officer Whistle
  • Bomb-Arson Unit
  • Canine

The Minneapolis Police Canine Unit has 17 canine teams and the training facility is in Northeast, Minneapolis.[115]

  • Homeland Security
  • Mounted Patrol

The Minneapolis Mounted Patrol Unit is headquartered at the First Precinct and has 8 full-time riders of the 30 fully trained MPD sworn officers in the unit. It is the largest mounted patrol in the five-state Upper Midwest and operates on donations. Minneapolis owns 11 horses that commute from a rented barn in Delano, Minnesota. Part of the older waterworks plant in Columbia Heights will be converted into a new stable.[116][117]

A horse at a police fest in Minneapolis
Bike patrol unit
  • Police Activities League (PAL)
  • Special Events/Reserve
  • Strategic Operations Unit
  • Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT)

The Special Weapons and Tactics team responds to barricaded suspects, sniper situations, hostage incidents and large civil disturbances. The SWAT team also serves high-risk arrest or search warrants.[118]

  • Traffic Enforcement and Accident Investigation
  • Traffic Control
  • Intelligence Sharing and Information Center[119]

Investigations Bureau

The Investigations Bureau performs comprehensive investigative services, including case management, suspect criteria, victim support and preparation of evidence for court. The bureau is composed of the Criminal Investigations Division, Crime Lab and Support Services.

Criminal Investigations Division[120]

  • License Investigations Unit:The unit investigates applicants for business licenses and permits issued by the City of Minneapolis and helps monitor and regulate the operation of these businesses.
  • Assault Unit: The Assault Unit investigates cases involving first, second, third and fourth Degree Assault (significant bodily harm) or greater
  • Family Violence Unit:The unit has three investigative sections, Domestic Assault, Child Abuse and Vulnerable Adults.
  • Forgery/Fraud Unit:The unit investigates financial crimes consisting of forgery, financial transaction card fraud, theft by swindle, identity theft, and embezzlement.
  • Homicide Unit:The Homicide Unit investigates murder, kidnappings, fatal accidents, drug overdoses, suicides and attempted suicides.
  • Juvenile Unit:The Juvenile Unit investigates Robbery, Assault and missing persons where the suspect or missing person is a juvenile.
  • Robbery Unit
  • Sex Crimes Unit:The Sex Crimes Unit handles Predatory Offender registrations and coordinates Level III Sex Offender community notifications along with conducting sexual assault, child molestation, indecent exposure, luring and stalking investigations.
  • Auto Theft Prevention (ATP):The ATP Function does undercover decoy and bait vehicle operations.
  • Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF)
  • Violent Criminal Apprehension Team (VCAT)
  • Violent Offender Task Force (VOTF):The VOTF works with the FBI to supports investigations by coordinating intelligence with a focus on arresting violent criminal suspects.
  • Weapons Function:The Weapons unit investigates the illegal carrying, selling and making of firearms. The unit also investigates unlawful discharge of a firearm.
  • Precinct Investigations Unit: Precinct investigations unit investigates all property crime and adult missing persons.[121]

Professional Standards Bureau

The Professional Standards Bureau focuses on the integrity of department employees from background screening through hiring and ongoing training and maintains the technical operations of the department. The bureau comprises the Background Unit, Internal Affairs, Mediation Compliance, Recruitment, Training, Business Technology Unit and Intellectual Properties. The bureau has three divisions the Administrative Services Division, Training Services Division and Internal Affairs Division.[122]

  • Business Technology
  • Internal Affairs

The IAD investigates complaints against MPD employees.

  • Backgrounds

The Backgrounds unit does background investigations on all potential employees for the Police Department, Fire Department and the Minneapolis Emergence Communications Center (MECC).

  • Training

The Training Services Division runs the ACADEMY, FIELD TRAINING program, IN-SERVICE TRAINING and the Range.[119]

Volunteer units and activities

The Minneapolis Police Reserve is a volunteer 60 non-sworn officer unit in charge of emergency preparedness, general public safety, and provides major support for traffic and crowd control. Officers are non-sworn and wear a light blue uniform with black slacks. Conceived after World War II as the civil defense force in anticipation of a nuclear attack during the Cold War, the reserve's role diminished after the Soviet-era. The unit's responsibility however was reaffirmed after the attacks of September 11, 2001 and was reassigned under the Minneapolis Police Department's Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, tasked with domestic defense in situations of civil unrest and disasters.[55] Though officers are not on regular active patrols, they are on-call 24 hours and respond to rioting, protests, officer shootings, large crime scenes, fires and explosions, and natural disasters, as well as events requiring a security presence such as dignitaries and concerts. They also provide officers to traffic control.[55]

The MPD also has other volunteer activities including

  • Police Band
  • Police Chaplain Corps
  • Police Explorers
  • Police Athletic League (PAL)
  • Block Club Leaders
  • Police Precinct Advisory Councils
  • McGruff House Program
  • Community Justice Project

Rank structure

Title Insignia Insignia (dress uniform cuff)
Chief of police
4 Gold Stars.svg
Broad gold stripe and two narrow gold stripes below gold star[123]
Assistant chief
3 Gold Stars.svg
Broad gold stripe and narrow gold stripe below gold star[123]
Deputy chief
2 Gold Stars.svg
Broad gold stripe[123]
Colonel Gold-vector.svg
Two narrow gold stripes[123]
Commander and Chaplain[123]
US-O4 insignia.svg
Two narrow gold stripes[123]
US-O1 insignia.svg
Narrow gold stripe[123]
Sergeant (20+ years of service)[123]
VA - State Police First Sergeant.png
Sergeant (16–20 years of service)[123]
Sergeant (11–15 years of service)[123]
Sergeant (6–10 years of service)[123]
Sergeant (0–5 years of service)[123]
VA - State Police Sergeant.png
Police officer / investigator[123]

Duty guns

Prior to 1988 MPD officers were authorized to carry a Colt or Smith and Wesson revolver in .38 or .357. From 1988 to 2002 MPD officers were authorized to carry Beretta or Smith and Wesson semiautomatics in 9mm or .45. In 2002 the .40 cal was authorized for use. In 2006 MPD officers were authorized to carry a Beretta, Smith and Wesson, H&K or Sig Sauer in 9mm, .40 or .45 in DA/SA only. From 2012 to 2015 MPD officers were authorized to carry only the Smith and Wesson M&P in 9mm or .45. From 2015 to present MPD officers are authorized to carry a Smith and Wesson M&P, Sig Sauer P320 or Glock in 9mm or .45.

Off duty MPD officers are authorized to carry a Smith and Wesson J frame revolver or a Colt model D revolver. MPD officers are also authorized to carry any subcompact version of their duty gun.

All MPD officers are grandfathered in to carrying whatever gun was authorized when they were hired.

Officers were authorized to buy their own rifle and carry it on patrol if they wished from 2006 to 2015. Officers had to buy and carry the Smith & Wesson M&P 15X rifle. The city stopped this program in favor of having patrol rifle officers specially selected and trained to carry a rifle on patrol. The MPD uses the Remington model 870 shotgun as their duty shotgun and the Colt model 6940 rifle as their duty rifle. Only 100 patrol officers are authorized and trained in the use of the duty rifle and carry it on patrol. The SWAT team uses the Colt M16 A1 rifle, Colt model 6943 carbine and H&K MP5 SMG in 9mm or 40 cal. The SWAT team also uses the accuracy international arctic warfare bolt action 308 rifle as their sniper rifle.[124]

The MPD SWAT team uses OSS suppressors for their rifles, carbines and sniper rifles. The issued OSS suppressors are HX-QD 556k and HX-QD 762 suppressors.[125]

In popular culture

  • In the fall of 1990, the Department was featured on the first six episodes of Season 3 of the police reality show, COPS. The department was later featured in Season 21 of the show, which aired in 2008 and 2009.[126]

Other agencies

Five other police forces operate in Minneapolis with the Minneapolis Police Department being the largest.

  • The University of Minnesota Police Department (UMPD) serves the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus. The department employs over 50 sworn officers. The Chief of Police is Matt Clark, the former Assistant Chief of the Minneapolis Police Department. Under Clark's watch, the UMPD increased its cooperation with the Minneapolis Police Department and now frequently responds Minneapolis' calls for service and backs up MPD Officers in need of assistance.[127]
  • The Minneapolis Park Police Department had 22 sworn patrol officers and 21 park patrol agents as of 2008 who are responsible for law enforcement in city parks.[128]
  • The Metro Transit Police Department (officially Metropolitan Transit Police) patrols bus routes and light rail and as of 2008 had 60 full-time and 60 part-time officers.[129]
  • The Metropolitan Airports Commission has a police force.[130]
  • The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office with 800 licensed and civilian members is headquartered in Minneapolis.[131]

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