The Saint Paul Police Department has published this online policy manual as part of our commitment to transparency.

The online manual should be used for informational purposes only. Certain not public data have been redacted according to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, including sections 13.82 and 13.37. The Saint Paul Police Department manual is a living document that is updated and amended as needed, and the online manual will be updated to reflect current official policy. If there are differences between the online and official versions of department policies, the official version will take priority. Please contact the department for official versions of department policies. Thank you for viewing. 

If you wish to provide feedback on the online version of this manual, please see our feedback form.

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General Provisions 0.00-060.00

This section will spell out a brief resume of the general provisions of the manual. This section will precede the regular numbered general orders. This section will contain, but not be limited to, the index, the glossary and the authority, maintenance, and organization of the manual.

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    Saint Paul Administrative Code, Chapter 8 (Sec. 8.01)

    Department Established:

    “There is hereby established an executive department of the City of Saint Paul to be known as the police department. The head of such department shall be the chief of police, who shall be appointed in accordance with the provisions of the City Charter.”

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    The manual of the Saint Paul Police Department is hereby established, and shall hereafter be referred to as “The Department Manual.” It is, and shall be, a composite of current policies, procedures, and rules pertaining to the department as established under previously existing department orders, special orders, and approved practices. The manual describes the department’s organizational structure and lists the responsibilities and functions thereof. The Saint Paul Police Department will consider trust and transparency as well as any potential impact to public trust when implementing policies and procedures.  The manual will strive to be reflective of community values. All employees of the department are to comply with the rules and provisions herein contained. All existing manuals, orders, and other regulations which are in conflict with the contents of the department manual are hereby revoked; except the portions of existing manuals, orders, and other regulations which have not been included herein shall remain in effect where they do not conflict with the provisions of the department manual.

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    The department manual is composed of five general orders preceded by a general provision section which are hereby established and whose contents may be briefly described as follows:

    000.00 General Provisions:

    This section will spell out a brief resume of the general provisions of the manual. This section will precede the regular numbered general orders. This section will contain, but not be limited to, the index, the glossary and the authority, maintenance, and organization of the manual.

    100.00 Department Policy:

    This general order will be composed of general statements concerning the objectives and principles set forth by the chief of police to guide the department’s activities. The departments guiding principles of reasonable, necessary and actions done with respect will guide employees in their decision making.     

    200.00 Management Rules and Regulations:

    This general order contains the elements of existing rules and regulations necessary to the administration and managerial functions of the department.  

    300.00 Organization and Functions:

    This general order will outline the organizational structure of the department. It defines the responsibilities and functions of the divisions, sections, units, and titled positions within the department. Building legitimacy and trust both internally and outward with the community is an essential component of the organization and line structure systems. 

    400.00 Line Procedures:

    This general order contains those detailed rules and procedures to aid the department employees in the execution of line duties performed in the furtherance of police objectives, of trusted service provided with respect.

    600.00 Traffic and Crash Investigations:

    This general order contains the rules and procedures to aid the department employees in the execution of line duties and procedures involving traffic and crash investigations. It also contains procedures relating to the operational functions of the investigative section of citywide services, plus special related assignments and duties.


    Revised April 20, 2018

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    The department manual shall consist of five general orders preceded by a general provisions section. The five general orders will encompass the major categories that are necessary to accomplish the direction needed.

    A modified decimal system is used to number each general order, section and subsection of the department manual in order to provide quick reference to all material, to afford an easy means of citing specific subjects, and to maintain the flexibility of format necessary to facilitate expansion and revision of its contents.

    A typical reference under the decimal system used in the department manual would be 250.60. The 250.60 conveys several facts:

    • First, the material is in general order 2.
    • Second, that it is in section 50 of general order 2.
    • Finally, that it is located in subdivision 60 of section 50, of general order 2.
    • This reference is read as, two fifty, point sixty.
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    The Saint Paul Police Department Research and Development Unit is responsible for maintaining the index of the department manual. The manual will be indexed using the subject title and modified decimal system described in General Order 040.00: Numbering System Used in the Department Manual. Additional references or subjects may also be indexed to the numerical identifier at the discretion of the research and development unit to improve usefulness.

    The manual format will be narrative in nature and remains flexible by design to accommodate the broad range of subject matter.

    Revised July 1, 2011

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    The department manual is maintained and updated by the research and development unit. In order to achieve internal legitimacy, the Saint Paul Police Department will involve employees as well as community in the process of developing policies and procedures. 

    Any employee can make recommendations for policy change through their change of command.

    The department manual is available for all sworn and non-sworn personnel on the department’s intranet site.  All employees are able to view/print any portion(s) of the department manual via the Saint Paul Police intranet. All questions concerning manual copy distribution should be directed to the research and development unit. 

    The Saint Paul Police Department believes in building trust and legitimacy with the community we serve and as such we provide public access to the manual on our department web page.  

    Revised April 20, 2018

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    The master manual will be the responsibility of the research and development unit, and when a discrepancy exists, the master manual will be the final authority. Distribution of manual revisions will be made by the research and development unit.

    Revised April 20, 2004

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    Distribution of General Orders:

    The department uses email as a distribution method for department manual updates. Employees must review updates sent via email daily when working and having access to a department computer (also see G.O. 201.13).  

    New or Revised Departmental Directives:

    Revisions of department general orders are encouraged at any time however, at least once a year a review of all department general orders will be coordinated through the Research and Development Unit.

    Requests or suggestions for amendments to the department manual may be made by any employee of the department. Such requests or suggestions should be prepared in writing and forwarded through the chain of command, and ultimately, after approval by the chief, then onto the Research and Development unit for publication via email.

    The process for policy update recommendation is as follows:

    1. Prepare a draft of the recommended changes.This should be done by copying the original policy into a word document and then using cross-outs and additions in red font make the suggested changes to the current policy.

    2. Distribute the draft up the chain of command, with each layer providing input that is noted in the document. Once the document reaches the Deputy Chief they will ensure that all needed input (both internal and external) has been received.

    3. Once all input has been obtained and the deputy chief has a final document s/he will forward that draft to the city attorney for review. If the city attorney determines that additional review by other members of the city attorney’s office is appropriate, s/he will forward copies to the affected member(s) of the city attorney’s office for review.

    4. Once the city attorney review is completed and any recommendation are discussed with the deputy chief resulting in a final recommendation, the document will be forwarded to the assistant chief for final review and delivery to the chief for approval.

    5. The deputy chief should be sure to establish a time-line for review of the draft allowing adequate time for the review and feedback process.

      Upon approval by the chief of police, the assistant chief will forward the official signed off document to the Research and Development unit.  That unit will have the necessary documents distributed to all personnel. The department manual located on the Saint Paul Police intranet site will be updated to reflect all manual revisions.  Whenever the manual is revised, all personnel shall obtain copies of the new or revised directives via email.

      Revised January 14, 2019


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    If any portion of this manual is found to be illegal, or otherwise incorrect, or inapplicable, such finding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portion of the department manual.

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    • Annual leave: vacation period granted to eligible members, annually.

    • Authority: the sum total of rights and powers to act and the power to expend resources of the organization to achieve agreed upon objectives.

    • Booking: the process whereby an individual who is in custody is transferred to the appropriate correctional authority.

    • Booking Number: the person(s) referenced above is assigned a number for record keeping purposes.

    • Call: a radio transmission.

    • Chain of command: the unbroken line of authority extending from the chief of police through a single subordinate at each level of command down to the level of execution.

    • Charter:the charter of the City of Saint Paul.

    • Commanding officer: the officer having the highest rank or grade. Officers of the same grade shall rank according to the date of their appointment to that grade. For a specific period, an officer may be designated by the commanding officer to take command without regard to rank. The beat officer is the ranking officer when other patrol officers are dispatched to her/his beat to assist the officer.

    • Communications: the process of creating understanding and avoiding misunderstanding so that the appropriate action takes place.

    • Complaint number: when an officer numbers a report, s/he will place an eight digit number on the report. This number will consist of the unique six digits prefixed by the last two digits of the current year.

    • Example: The year is 2017 the complaint number will be written as:

    • 17-123456 Year/6 digit unique .

    • Computer Assisted Dispatch (CAD): the electronic system employed by the department to assist in the management and tracking of squads, calls, reports and resources.

    • Days off: days that are determined by the chief of police on which a given member is excused from duty.

    • Delegation: the process of arriving at agreement with a subordinate as to what work to do (objectives) and the limits with which to work (authority).

    • Department: the department of police.

    • Directives: can also mean special or general orders.

    • District:geographic responsible for the delivery of services to a specific area.

    • District beat: the part of a geographic area which designates the assignment of the squad to specific patrol. Also referred to as a “beat.”

    • District commander: a senior commander in charge of one of the city’s police districts.

    • Division: a major component of the department within the span of control of the chief assistant chief, and deputy chief.

    • Employee: all personnel assigned to the department; may be used interchangeably with “member”.

    • Headquarters: the police complex at 367 Grove Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101.

    • Lawful order: any written or oral directive issued by a superior sworn officer to any subordinate or group of subordinates in the course of police duty which is not in violation of any law, ordinance or any departmental rule or regulation.

    • Length of service: the length of time that an employee has been engaged in the actual performance of duty.

    • Mandatory and permissive verbs: “shall”, “will”, and “must” are mandatory.

    • May: means that the action is permissible.

    • Objective: a desired end for which effort is expended, and which, if attained, fulfills the purposes of the department. Within each objective, there may be a number of ancillary objectives, each of which, if attained, contributes to the accomplishment of the police mission.

    • Off-duty: the state of a member during the period free from the performance of specified duties. Also, may be known as day-off or annual leave.

    • Officer: a sworn member of the department. The words member, or employee can also mean officer.

    • On duty: the state of a member during the period of the day when actively engaged in the performance of duties for the department.

    • Plurality of words: the singular includes the plural and the plural includes the singular.

    • Policy is:

      • Principles and values which guide the performance of a department activity. Policy is not a statement of what must be done in a particular situation; rather, it is a statement of guiding principles which should be followed in activities which are directed toward the attainment of department objectives.

      • Formulated by analyzing objectives and determining, through research, those principles which will best guide the department in achieving its objectives. Policy is based upon police ethics and experience, the desires of the community and the mandate of the law.

      • Articulated to inform the public and department employees on or about the principles this will be adhered to in the performance of the law enforcement function. Additionally, policy establishes operational standards to assist department employees in the necessary exercise of discretion in discharging their responsibilities.

      • An officer in the performance of duties is confronted with an infinite variety of complex situations which require police action. Since policy is objective rather than situation oriented, it is broad enough in scope to encompass most situations. Policy, therefore, must be stated in general terms.

    • Procedure: a method of performing an operation or a manner of proceeding on a course of action. It differs from policy in that it directs action in a particular situation to perform a specific task within the guidelines of policy. Both policies and procedures are objective oriented; however, policy establishes limits of action while procedure directs response within those limits.

    • Rank: the civil service classification of the department’s sworn personnel.

    • Rule: a specific prohibition or requirement which is stated to prevent deviation from policy or procedure. Rules allow little deviation other than for stated exceptions.

    • Section: a major organizational component within a division. An assigned title. Generally two or more units make up a section.

    • Seniority: sworn seniority in the department is established first by rank and second by aggregate time served in rank. Where conflict occurs because of identical service or dates of appointment, the member with the highest score on the promotional list from which appointments were made is deemed to be senior. In situations requiring decision or control where the officers are of equal ranks, the senior officer will make the decision and exercise control unless otherwise directed by a higher supervisory officer and department regulation.

    • Should: action is mandatory, except to the extent that if any deviation from mandatory action of conduct occurs such deviation must be based upon facts that can be clearly articulated justifying the deviation.

    • Sick leave: the period of time which an officer is excused from active duty by reason of illness or off-duty injury.

    • Squad: the smallest tactical unit - i.e., in a patrol district a one person squad is the smallest unit, in mobile field force configuration the smallest unit is six officers.

    • Superior officer: a person holding a higher supervisory or command position.

    • Supervisor: member of the department assigned to a position requiring the exercise of immediate supervision over the activities of other members and employees.

    • Sworn personnel: those departmental employees who are sworn by oath to their offices.

    • Tense of words: words used in the present tense include the future.

    • Through official channels: through the chain of command.

    • Time: All referrals to time of any activity will be based on the 24-hour clock system. Example 12:30 A.M. is 0030 hours, 4:00 P.M. is 1600 hours.

    • Tour: 8, 9 and 10 hour shifts with different start and end times.

    • Unit: the smallest organized component of the department.

    • Unit head: the highest ranking person in the unit.

    • Value: a quality of performance or accomplishment. Values are the basis for the determination of objectives and may be both ethical and functional.

    • Workweek and day: A workweek begins on Saturday at 0001 hours and ends on Friday at 2400 hours. The days are numbered as Saturday being number one and Friday being number seven. The day begins at 0001 hours and shall end at 2400 hours.


      Revised April 20, 2018

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100.00 Department Policy

This general order will be composed of general statements concerning the objectives and principles set forth by the chief of police to guide the department’s activities.

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    Departmental functions:

    The department shall perform the following functions:

    • Preserve the public peace, deter and prevent crime, and detect and arrest offenders.
    • Administer and enforce laws regulating, directing, controlling and restricting the movement of vehicular and pedestrian traffic, and the general use of the streets by vehicles and the public.
    • Operate a training program to maintain and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the members of the department through best practices.
    • Prepare reports on injuries to persons and property occurring by accident or otherwise on the street, in alleys and other public places as required by law.
    • Provide a procedure for the sale, destruction or other disposition of all weapons or other articles used in the commission of crime or coming into the custody of the department; provided that where such weapon or article may be used as evidence in either a civil or criminal proceeding, it shall in no way be disposed of except upon a written order of a court of law.
    • Provide a procedure for the sale of unclaimed, lost or stolen articles coming into the custody of the department.

    Updated January 14, 2019

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    All sworn officers are required to abide by the following code of ethics which has been adopted by this department.

    As a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the constitutional rights of all people to liberty, equality, and justice.

    I will keep my private life unsullied as an example to all; maintain courageous calm in the face of danger, scorn, or ridicule; develop self-restraint; and be constantly mindful of the welfare of others. Honest in thought and deed in both my personal and official life, I will be exemplary in obeying the laws of the land and the regulations of my department. Whatever I see or hear of a confidential nature or that is confided to me in my official capacity will be kept secret unless revelation is necessary in the performance of duty. I will never act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudice, animosities, or friendships to influence my decisions. With no compromise for crime and with relentless prosecution of criminals, I will enforce the law courteously and appropriately without fear or favor, malice, or ill will, never employing unnecessary force or violence and never accepting gratuities. I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith, and I accept it as a public trust to be held so long as I am true to the ethics of police service. I will constantly strive to achieve these objectives and ideals, dedicating myself before God to my chosen profession--law enforcement.

    Revised July 1, 2011

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    As a law enforcement officer I solemnly swear to uphold the constitution of the United States and of the State of Minnesota;

    That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;

    That I will enforce the laws of the United States, of the State of Minnesota, and of the City of Saint Paul impartially;

    That I will work in partnership with the public of the City of Saint Paul toward providing a safe environment and enhancing the quality of life consistent with the values of our community;

    That I will adhere to the ethical values of professionalism, integrity, responsiveness, sensitivity, respect and openness;

    That I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

    Updated January 14, 2019

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    The purpose of the department of police is to protect and to serve. The department protects the right of all persons within its jurisdiction to be free from criminal attack, to be secure in their possessions, and to live in peace. The department serves the people of the City of Saint Paul by performing the policing function in a professional manner, and it is to these people that the department is ultimately responsible.

    In doing so, the department is committed to developing and maintaining community-oriented policing prevention programs and a problem-oriented policing philosophy.

    Revised July 1, 2011

Last Edited: November 24, 2020