Report Recommendation 1.5

Law enforcement agencies should proactively promote public trust by initiating positive non enforcement activities to engage communities that typically have high rates of investigative and enforcement involvement with government agencies.

1.5.1 Involve the community in the process of developing and evaluating policies and procedures.

Established Practice

SPPD benefits from citizen review

The department is committed to obtaining community input on the policies that directly impact trust and transparency.  The department has published the policy manual online with a feature allowing the community to provide input and recommend changes to any policy.  The department involved the community in its development of the Body Worn Camera policy as well as the departments Response to Resistance and Aggression (use-of-force) policies. 

In both cases, the department provided the public with proposed draft policies, received input through community forums and discussion, partnered with organized community groups and documented the community feedback and ideas.  Prior to publishing the final draft of the revised Response to Resistance and Aggression policies, the department incorporated approximately 50 community ideas into the policy. 

In 2018, the department also published a newly written policy guiding employees on effective communication with persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf/blind, have hearing loss and/or for whom English is a second language.  The genesis of this revision came from an online submission suggesting the department policy contained non-sensitive terminology and was not considerate of everyone.  The department worked with the community who helped write a better policy.

1.5.1 Involve the community in the process of developing and evaluating policies and procedures.

Established Practice

SPPD benefits from citizen review

The Saint Paul Police Department was one of the first departments in the country to establish a citizen review commission to evaluate complaints of police misconduct. This commission was established in 1994 and was a product of Saint Paul Mayor Jim Scheibel’s Task Force on Police Priorities for the Nineties. The Police-Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission’s role was further clarified in 2001 when the department and NAACP signed an agreement.

In 2017, oversight of the Police-Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission transferred to the City’s Department of Human Rights & Equal Economic Opportunity. This move was intended to promote further transparency.

1.5.2 Institute residency incentive programs such as Resident Officer Programs.

Established Practice

SPPD has an officer in residence program

The Saint Paul Police Department has participated in an Officer in Residence (OIR) program in partnership with the Saint Paul Public Housing Agency (PHA) for over 10 years. Through this program, department officers live in public housing locations and participate in the building security and community events within each location. The purpose of this program is to improve quality of life and safety for PHA residents. The program also allows officers to build positive and long-lasting relationships with residents.

1.5.3 Create opportunities in communities for positive interactions with police. Publicize engagement activities.

Established Practice

SPPD is committed to community engagement

In 2016, the Saint Paul Police Department established a fully-staffed Community Engagement Unit (CEU). This unit was led by a senior commander and served several essential functions for the department. The success of this unit was so profound that Chief Axtell established the Community Engagement Division (CED) in 2019.  The division is responsible for professionalizing the department’s efforts toward outreach and building legitimacy and trust. The CED also evaluates the department’s outreach effectiveness and is responsible for recruiting future police officers. While every individual and unit within the department is responsible for participating in community engagement, the CED supports these efforts through continuity, resources and relationships.

Cops and kids deliver big donation to St. Paul food shelf
Pioneer Press | Nov. 15, 2016

Reference Data:

1.5.3 Create opportunities in communities for positive interactions with police. Publicize engagement activities.

Established Practice

SPPD creates youth programs

The Saint Paul Police Department formally organizes and facilitates multiple youth programs occurring in schools, recreation centers, and libraries including private institutions. Each of these programs focuses on positive and genuine relationship-building, education, and mentoring. Some programs are gender or culturally specific. Examples include:

The Junior Police Academy, Youth Explorers Program, and the Police Athletic League (which coordinates more than 35 different programs such as ice fishing and bicycling).

Several adult programs also exist to  include the Citizen Policy Academy and Police Reserve Program among others. In addition, there are culturally and gender-specific engagement programs, community councils, board partnerships, and faith partnerships.

New Americans Learn about the SPPD

 

 

1.5.3 Create opportunities in schools and communities for positive interactions with police. Publicize engagement activities.

Established Practice

SPPD mentor youth

The Saint Paul Police Department (SPPD) had enjoyed school resource officers working in Saint Paul Public schools (SPPS) for decades. Their primary focus was maintaining safe and secure educational environments. Our officers worked as mentors and coaches building positive relationships with students.  In addition, the SPPD participates in different programs to include Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) with SPPS in a continued effort to invest in our youth. 

1.5.3 Create opportunities in schools and communities for positive interactions with police. Publicize engagement activities.

Established Practice

SPPD school resource officers mentor youth

The Saint Paul Police Department enjoyed a long standing relationship with Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) for several decades.  School resource officers (SRO’s) served as more than just guardians of the school facility. Their role had evolved beyond basic law enforcement. In 2016, SRO’s became mentors and participants in the education process. In conjunction with teachers and staff, the SRO’s hosted informal presentations on subjects like police and community relations and wise decision-making. At the end of the presentations, SRO’s provide a survey asking students to voluntarily indicate the race with which they identify. Based on SPPS current demographics, African-American students represent 30% of the school population; Asian students are 32%; Hispanic students are 14%; and Caucasian students are 22% of the population.  While SRO's have been reassigned to patrol for the 2020 school year, the SPPD looks forward to serving SPPS student and staff and continuing to build on existing relationships and programs. 

With cop's help, Como Park senior who tried to end life is back on football field
Pioneer Press | Oct. 25, 2016

Reference Data:

1.5.3 Create opportunities in schools and communities for positive interactions with police. Publicize engagement activities.

Established Practice

SPPD officers mentor youth

Saint Paul police officers have served as youth mentors for years.  While serving all youth, the SPPD strives to be inclusive of our entire community.  Female Saint Paul police officers, in partnership with the downtown YWCA and St. Paul Public Health, participated in a swimming program for East African girls to foster relationships across cultural lines. This program was administered by the Operations and Community Engagement Divisions of the police department and primarily staffed by patrol officers.

In 2014, the program was six weeks long and served 35 girls. In 2015, the program expanded to six months and served 77 girls. In 2016, the program served more than 480 girls during 17 different events. In 2020, the SPPD with partner with our Parks department in continuing to build on this and other youth programing. Our officers will strive to reach young Saint Paul women from a variety of different ethnic backgrounds.

1.5.4 Use of physical control equipment and techniques against vulnerable populations is a last resort. Review policies addressing use of physical control with vulnerable populations.

Established Practice

SPPD employs a minimal force model

The Saint Paul Police Department’s response to resistance and aggression policy follows a model of minimal force and measured escalation that is reasonable and necessary under the circumstances. 

Reference Data:

1.5.4 Use of physical control equipment and techniques against vulnerable populations is a last resort. Review policies addressing use of physical control with vulnerable populations.

Established Practice

SPPD conducts quarterly force training

The Saint Paul Police Department conducts quarterly training for officers in responding to resistance or aggression, with the primary focus on de-escalation through communication, creating a cushion of time and space, and employing alternative techniques.

The department also trains firearms proficiency several times per year. This training includes legal requirements related to firearms, no-shoot scenario based training, the principles of de-escalation, protection of life and other non-shooting topics.

1.5.4 Use of physical control equipment and techniques against vulnerable populations is a last resort. Review policies addressing use of physical control with vulnerable populations.

Established Practice

SPPD is committed to crisis intervention training

The Saint Paul Police Department is committed to exceeding state requirements and federal recommendations by training every officer in crisis intervention techniques. The department has trained the entire front-line to national standards for crisis intervention training (an intensive 40 hour training class). All front line patrol officers have completed this training.  In 2019, the SPPD trained several officers in advanced Crisis Intervention Team training.  In addition, Chief Axtell created the Community Outreach and Stabilization Unit (COAST).  COAST officers, along with social workers work as co-responders in following up with individuals in crisis and those in need of additional services. 

Additionally, since 2014, every police recruit hired by the department completed this training and demonstrated competency during their initial 16-week police recruit academy.

When the call isn't a crime, but a crisis: How St. Paul police train officers to respond                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pioneer Press | April 20, 2017

St. Paul Police, Hamline University partner to improve how officers deal with mentally ill                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Star tribune | April 20, 2017 

1.5 Law enforcement agencies should proactively promote public trust by initiating positive non enforcement activities to engage communities that typically have high rates of investigative and enforcement involvement with government agencies.

Established Practice

SPPD values community engagement

The Saint Paul Police Department highly values community engagement; this has been demonstrated throughout our history. Dedicated civilian and sworn personnel have established dozens of formal non-enforcement programs meant to create positive interaction between department members and the general public.

Specific showcase programs include Safe Summer Nights where the department served meals to and interacted with more than 17,000 people in 2015, 18,000 in 2016 and 30,000 in 2017. This police co-sponsored community event serves one purpose and that is community engagement.  The first kick off event in 2018  served approximately 1150 hot dogs and burgers- an outstanding start!  We have unfortunately, had to cancel our Safe Summer Nights events in 2020 due to the pandemic, but look forward to beginning these again as soon as it is safe to do so. 

The department has also received national awards for its annual National Night Out event accomplishments. The tremendous turnout by Saint Paul residents is only possible through relationship and partnership building which occurs on the other 364 days of the year.

The department is continually seeking additional engagement opportunities and looks to its community partners to spawn new programs to build community trust and foster genuine relationships.

At community barbecues, kids see St. Paul cops as 'normal people'
Pioneer Press 

1.5.4 Use of physical control equipment and techniques against vulnerable populations is a last resort. Review policies addressing use of physical control with vulnerable populations.

Upcoming

SPPD reviews its policies annually

The Saint Paul Police Department will continually review its policy manual to ensure that policies are consistent with our mission to provide trusted service with respect.

1.5 Law enforcement agencies should proactively promote public trust by initiating positive non enforcement activities to engage communities that typically have high rates of investigative and enforcement involvement with government agencies.

Established Practice

SPPD partners with all stakeholders

The Saint Paul Police Department is proud to partner with private businesses to serve all communities. Two specific programs include the Shop with Cops and Red & Blue Cares programs which provide holiday shopping for food and gifts to families and children who might not otherwise enjoy the holidays. Most (85%) of the children served are low-income children of color from our community.

1.5 Law enforcement agencies should proactively promote public trust by initiating positive non enforcement activities to engage communities that typically have high rates of investigative and enforcement involvement with government agencies.

Established Practice

SPPD innovates to engage

Bike safety education will be used as an avenue to foster positive police interactions in Saint Paul. In partnership with Gillette Children’s Specialty Health Care, the Saint Paul Police Department will seek opportunities to engage kids in low income neighborhoods.  Building relationships with our youth is paramount to our success.

Throughout 2017, the Saint Paul Police bice officers made more than 5,000 connections with individuals and groups of youth with fun traffic stops and safety lessons. Officers gave away more than 500 helmets, approximately 100 bicycles, 200 water bottles and countless Dairy Queen coupons when catching kids wearing their bike helmets.  Bike officers attended all the 17 Safe Summer Night events, held more than 50 bike rodeos and six junior police academies. 

In 2020, the SPPD completed its build on a state of the art community bicycle truck.  This truck is outfitted with free bikes, helmets, video games, a basketball net, mechanics stand for maintenance and repairs as well as ice cream.  The department will deploy the truck throughout the city to foster positive engagement with the community.

A bike trailer full of free helmets keep kids safe- and connects them with cops
Pioneer Press | July 8, 2017

https://www.facebook.com/StPaulBikeCopsforKids/

1.5.4 Use of physical control equipment and techniques against vulnerable populations is a last resort. Review policies addressing use of physical control with vulnerable populations.

Established Practice

SPPD prepares to deal with crisis

The Saint Paul Police Department recognizes its responsibility to protect those in crisis. The department’s first response is to de-escalate, calm and verbally control those in crisis. Using physical force is a last resort. Knowing that there will be times when physical force will be required, the department coordinated training for all officers on two-officer takedowns. Although every scenario will not fit this response, the purpose of this instruction is to provide control techniques that do not require strikes.

1.5 Law enforcement agencies should proactively promote public trust by initiating positive non enforcement activities to engage communities that typically have high rates of investigative and enforcement involvement with government agencies.

Established Practice

SPPD is committed to community

The Saint Paul Police Department recently created the Community Engagement Division (CED), which focuses on finding additional ways for police officers to build meaningful connections with the people they serve and protect. The department has a stated goal to galvanize current partnerships while always looking for fresh opportunities to create new ones.

A shy kid finds a friend and mentor in St. Paul cop
Star Tribune | Oct. 12, 2016

Reference Data:

Vision Booklet - Page 3

1.5 Law enforcement agencies should proactively promote public trust by initiating positive nonenforcement activities to engage communities that typically have high rates of investigative and enforcement involvement with government agencies.

Not Applicable

SPPD Note

The Saint Paul Police Department supports the concept of City and State residency incentive programs and funding.

Reference Data:

Not Applicable

1.5.4 Use of physical control equipment and techniques against vulnerable populations is a last resort. Review policies addressing use of physical control with vulnerable populations.

Established Practice

SPPD prepares to deal with crisis

Recognizing the value of every life and knowing the Saint Paul Police Department will be called to assist people in crisis; patrol officers have been equipped with less-lethal technology. If the situation indicates a higher level of force is necessary and an opportunity exists, officers may employ less-lethal direct impact technology. This tool provides a lesser force option; this is a benefit for both those in distress and well as the first responders. 

1.5.1 Involve the community in the process of developing and evaluating policies and procedures.

Established Practice

SPPD involves the community in policy development

The Saint Paul Police Department values the community’s voice. The department has and will continue to incorporate community feedback in its policy review to ensure that the policies are not only consistent with the mission of providing trusted service with respect, but the policies meet community expectations for policing. The department hosts meetings for key community stakeholder groups and updates them on policies that will directly impact them.

As an example, the department invested in countless meetings with stakeholders to discuss and solicit feedback on the body-worn camera policy. Different stakeholders hold varying positions on policy language. The department is committed to balancing these positions to create and utilize the most responsible and compassionate policy possible. 

St. Paul police to get body cameras, explain details at community meetings
Pioneer Press | Oct. 19, 2015

St. Paul police meets with community to discuss body cams
Pioneer Press | Nov. 26, 2016

Reference Data:

1.5.1 Involve the community in the process of developing and evaluating policies and procedures.

Established Practice

SPPD involves the community in policy development

Police Chief Todd Axtell and his senior staff meet monthly with a citizen advisory group to discuss department business, policy considerations and other current topics. This citizen body regularly provides advice and feedback. The advisory committee members represent a host of civil justice groups in Saint Paul.

1.5.1 Involve the community in the process of developing and evaluating policies and procedures.

Upcoming

SPPD hears the community

The Saint Paul Police Department seeks honest feedback from those who receive police services. The department measures performance related to engagement, courtesy, respect and effectiveness. All surveys are reviewed and employee and citizen follow up is conducted appropriately. 

 

https://www.stpaul.gov/police-service-survey