341.50 Police Officer -- Duties

General Duties:

Saint Paul Police officers are the departments immediate diplomat when dealing with the public.  Not only does the police officer represent the department, but also the government of the City of Saint Paul.  It is important to maintain a professional demeanor while fulfilling this important role; a role that also includes, but is not limited to, that of a neighborhood problem solver.  Police officers are encouraged to take the initiative and proactively seek out these problems and find solutions in an effort to enhance the livability of the City of Saint Paul and further the mission of the department.  Police officers are expected to proactively solve problems rather than react to the harmful consequences of problems.

A police officer is responsible for providing services to the City of Saint Paul. An officer shall direct her/his best effort toward the intelligent, courteous, compassionate, and efficient accomplishment of the goals and mission of the department. The officer shall be vigilant and on the alert for violations of laws and ordinances and shall take reasonable action.

The police officer shall report promptly for duty, at the designated hour and place, for roll call, assignment, and inspection.

Police officers may be assigned to special events, community meetings, parades, or other assignments.  It is the responsibility of the officer to understand her/his duties.  When in doubt, the officer should ask her/his supervisor for clarification (all inquires should follow the chain of command).

Quality of Life Conditions:

  • Police officers shall take notice of conditions which tend to endanger the health, safety, or convenience of the public or negatively impact the livability of the city. S/he shall immediately take the initiative and cause the removal of the undesirable conditions.
  • When the removal of the undesirable condition is the responsibility of another agency, or another agency is required to enforce the ordinances, the officer shall immediately notify the agency whose responsibility it may be.

Police Officer Initiatives and Traits:

  • Police officers should seek out training and experience to enhance skills and job performance, including taking the initiative to learn laws, ordinances, and department policy and procedures.
  • Police officers should make every effort to know their assigned beats geography, notable citizens, and crime trends.  This knowledge will not only enhance the proactive patrol of the area, but improves the problem-solving ability of the officer.  Sometimes police officers can solve a neighborhood problem by engaging other resources including residents, schools, businesses, and other government agencies.
  • Police officers handle a wide range of problems, many are not criminal in nature, but community policing. (The community values police involvement in non-criminal issues and recognize the contributions a police officer can make in solving these problems).
  • Electronic devices, e.g. cell phones and laptops greatly enhance police service, but discretion must be used so that this technology does not impede proactive patrol, minimize observation skills, or negatively impact driving skills.
  • Regardless of the type of physical force employed by the police officer and whether or not injury is sustained by the suspect, the officer will complete an incident report when force is used (General Order 150.04: Officer Response to Resistance and Aggression).
  • Police officers should treat all persons in a respectful and professional manner.  The use of profanity serves no purpose and is prohibited.
  • Testifying in court is one of the basic functions of a police officer.  Officers shall respond to court subpoenas and court notices as required and be in compliance with Court Notification Procedures set out by this department (General Order 453.00: Court Notification Procedures)
  • Police officers shall take into custody property that has been lost, stolen, or abandoned.
  • Police officers shall carefully investigate suspicious activities and give all complaints attention. S/he shall take police action in those cases which come under the jurisdiction of the police department and inform interested parties of laws or ordinances relative to the complaint. If the legal remedy of the complaint lies outside the jurisdiction of the police department, s/he shall advise the complainant accordingly and refer her/him to the proper authority.
  • Upon sight, or receipt of information from any source of an unusual or serious crash, crime, or other occurrence requiring police attention, an officer shall immediately respond and give such assistance or take such police actions as the circumstances may require. S/he shall also conduct a preliminary investigation and submit reports as required.
  • At scenes of crimes where scene safety and security has been established, officers shall not do anything that might interfere with the investigation or destroy evidence. The first patrol officer will be in charge until relieved.
  • The first duty of a police officer at the scene of a homicide is to guard the scene, exclude all unauthorized persons, and detain all witnesses and/or potential suspects for interviewing. Unless directed to do so by the supervisor in charge, officers shall not touch or permit others to touch anything in such a manner that latent fingerprints, DNA or other valuable evidence might be destroyed.  Also, unless directed to do so by the supervisor in charge, they shall not handle any guns, knives, or other instruments used in the commission of a homicide or other crime, nor shall they permit any unauthorized person to do so.

Services for the Safety of Motorists and Pedestrians:

To ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians, officers shall be watchful for hazards within the city. Officers shall take appropriate action to eliminate the hazard, or to contact the proper authority or agency to cause the hazard to be corrected.

In cases of a stalled or stranded motorist, officers shall provide all reasonable assistance. When the vehicle is a traffic hazard or obstruction, the situation shall be resolved, e.g. vehicle being towed to the impound lot or the motorist arranging for a private business to clear the obstruction. Officers may transport the driver of a stalled vehicle to a place of shelter where the motorist can obtain assistance. Under no circumstances shall the officer transport a party out of the city without prior approval of a supervisor.

In incidents involving fire or medical emergency, procedures documented under General Orders 446.00: Fire Procedures and 401.00: Medical Emergency shall be followed.

Temporary Assignment to Investigative Units:

Occasionally officers may be temporarily assigned to assist various investigative units.

Revised July 1, 2011