Mayor Melvin Carter Statement on Police Department Announcement of Draft Use-of-Force Policy

ST. PAUL --  Today, Saint Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell announced the release of a draft use-of-force policy for the City of Saint Paul Police Department.  Mayor Melvin Carter today offered the following statement in response to the draft policy:

“This draft policy is an important step forward to protect the sacred trust between community members and our police officers. I appreciate Chief Axtell’s openness to public engagement and encourage community members to provide feedback on this policy through the police department’s website. A use of force policy that reflects our values is critical to ensuring we can all work together to keep our neighborhoods safe, and build a city that works for all of us.”

Notable updates to the policy include:

  • Replaces outdated use-of-force continuum by describing five levels of behavior, ranging from compliance to passive resistance to aggravated aggression, and clearly articulates acceptable response options to each.
  • Emphasizes officer’s duty  to de-escalate when practical, and more clearly defines an officer’s duty to intervene.  
  • Provides clearer guidance to officers on interacting with individuals experiencing crisis.  
  • Increases and types of encounters where medical professionals must be called, and articulates that medical help must be summoned as soon safely possible.  
  • Formally recognizes that every use of force is reviewed with increased reporting and supervisor oversight.
  • Provides clear rules for electronic control devices (Tasers).