Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota’

Use of force down 50% in Minneapolis

May 27, 2018

This article reports 10 years of use of force data in Minneapolis, showing a 50% decline over the decade. When force was used, it was 70% physical contact, 15% pepper spray, and 10% Taser, with injuries occurring in 30% of the use of force incidents. More than half of the encounters were officer-initiated rather than in response to a call. Local activists remain skeptical; one official notes “the perception of police over-aggressiveness has thrived regardless of evidence that counters it, because of the lingering trauma of past encounters with law enforcement.”


Mental health crises — new paradigm needed

March 24, 2018

This column reports a careful study of police handling of mental health crises in Minnesota. Arrests were made in only 1% of cases and officers were effective at de-escalation, but options for what to do next were severely lacking — all police could ultimately do in 60% of cases was walk away. Analysis found “Several group homes in the area … were calling the police on a daily basis. Police were being asked to Band-Aid a broken mental health system.” The authors suggest funding “mobile crisis teams … [and] more free 24/7 mental health centers for triage and treatment.”

Going overseas builds capacity at home too

January 19, 2018

This column highlights two international police partnerships, Portland (Oregon) PD with Bangladesh and several Minnesota departments with Somalia, each sponsored by the US State Department. In both cases, tangible benefits have been recognized by police in the US and in the other country.

Near misses

December 31, 2017

With so much attention on police shootings, one thing usually overlooked is the number of times when police could shoot, legally, but don’t. In this blog post, a retired Minneapolis officer recounts 10 incidents during his career when deadly force probably would have been justified but wasn’t used. He suspects that most police have similar stories.

Work schedules

December 28, 2017

This article reports increased popularity of 12-hour shifts in Minnesota. Fatigue is a concern, but agencies that have used the longer shifts say they have not experienced problems and their officers indicate a preference for keeping the arrangement.

Psych testing in Minneapolis

December 18, 2017

This public radio article and report examine psychological testing of police applicants in Minneapolis. The city has been using only one test for the last 5 years, despite evidence that multiple tests are better at identifying suitable candidates. In addition, the examiner making final recommendations did not meet state requirements. Political considerations seem to have outweighed professional and scientific ones.

Oregon vs. Minnesota on decertification

October 11, 2017

This article provides a detailed comparison of police licensing and decertification practices in Oregon and Minnesota. The system in Oregon is considered one of the best for transparency, thoroughness, and regularly updating; the state “dedicates a lot of energy and a lot of time to police our own” according to one sheriff.

Re-engineering the traffic stop

August 12, 2017

This column recounts efforts to improve after-action review of officer-involved shootings, based on methods used in aviation and medicine, with less emphasis on finding a person to blame and more on identifying system errors that can be fixed in order to prevent future tragedies. The writer notes that many shootings arise from traffic stops, and wonders whether changes to basic police SOPs could make vehicle stops safer for both officers and the public.

Defunding police

July 17, 2017

In response to police shootings and related controversies, activists in some cities have pushed to shift police funding over to social services, arguing such an approach would contribute more to community safety. This article discusses the proposal and questions whether it would accomplish what its proponents hope for.

Expert views on Castile shooting video

June 23, 2017

Following the officer’s acquittal last week, dashcam video of the vehicle stop and subsequent shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota was released. In this article, several experts comment on the video evidence. Another view is here.