Saint Paul Police Department to hold community meeting about draft ‘interactions with transgender and gender non-conforming individuals’ policy

When Todd Axtell became police chief in 2016, he committed to a vision of 21st century policing that puts the community and its shared values first.

After reviewing the department’s Work Place Conduct Policy, the Gender, Sexuality, and 21st Century Policing Guide from the U.S. Department of Justice, and researching law enforcement best practices from agencies across the country, the department has drafted a policy that provides guidelines for interactions with transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.

This is the first policy of its kind in the history of the Saint Paul Police Department.

The department will host a community meeting where the public can learn more about the policy, ask questions and share feedback:

  • 6 – 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 31
    Richard Rowan Training Center
    600 Lafayette Rd. N.

The draft policy, “Interactions with Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Individuals in the Community,” has been posted on the police department’s website along with a form that allows members of the community to share their feedback.

The policy emphasizes the importance of treating all individuals with respect and dignity, while accommodating for and meeting the needs of all members of the community.

Notable procedures in the policy include:

  • Personnel will address individuals using preferred pronouns or adopted names as expressed by the individual;
     
  • Unless there are exigent circumstances, an individual may request a preference of officer gender for searches;
     
  • Officers cannot remove appearance-related items, such as prosthetics, wigs or cosmetic items unless they pose a safety risk or are evidence;
     
  • If the individual requests, and whenever possible, transgender individuals will be transported alone;
     
  • The department provides all individuals with safe and appropriate restroom facilities, including restrooms that correspond to an individual’s gender identity, regardless of the person’s sex assigned at birth; and
     
  • Individuals cannot be stopped, detained, frisked or searched for the purpose of determining their gender or to call attention to the person’s gender expression.

"This policy is important because it reflects our commitment to treat everyone with respect and the dignity they deserve," said Axtell. "It reflects the way our officers already treat people, but it’s good to have it formalized, in writing so our expectations are clear to community and officers alike. Frankly, it’s long-overdue."

Once members of the community have shared their feedback, the draft policy with any subsequent updates will be reviewed by the chief and his staff. After that it will be finalized and officer training will begin.

The draft policy and feedback form are available at https://www.stpaul.gov/departments/police.

 

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