101 4th Street SE
Rochester, Mn 55904 (Map)
Law Enforcement response
Mon-Fri 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
Dial 911 For Emergencies
Narcotics Tip Line
(This is a voicemail only line to leave tips or information)
The RPD is fully committed to improving the way it serves our community. When Chief Franklin started in the role in 2018, he brought with him a philosophy based on President Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force. The professional development that occurs within the RPD is above and beyond what is mandated by the State of Minnesota. RPD officers must successfully complete 48 hours of law enforcement related continuing education every three years. Officers must maintain documentation to prove successful completion of their required credits. The documentation is sent to the Minnesota Board of Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) that oversees peace officer licenses.
Required professional development:
- Active officers must complete use of force training every year. This training must be based on the RPD’s use of force policy and the learning objectives provided by the POST Board.
- Active officers must complete an eight hour course in emergency vehicle operations and in the conduct of police pursuits every five years. This training must be based on RPD’s pursuit policy and the learning objectives provided by the POST Board.
On January 25, 2018, the Minnesota POST Board approved learning objectives for training in crisis intervention and mental illness crises, conflict management and mediation, and recognizing and valuing community diversity and cultural differences, to include implicit bias. Required by Minn. Stat. 626.8469, these objectives were developed through the board’s training committee with the assistance of subject matter experts and other interested parties, and vetted against state and national resources. Below are the trainings that are required every 3-year license cycle:
- Crisis Intervention/De-Escalation: 16 hours; Click here for course objectives
- Conflict Management/Mediation: 16 hours; Click here for course objectives
- Implicit Bias/Community Diversity/Cultural Differences: 16 hours; Click here for objectives
For the past two years, RPD has used Quantico Police Training to provide the mandated implicit bias/community difference/cultural diversity training. The Rochester Police Department elected to exceed the POST standard and contract with Quantico Police Training in order to provide RPD employees with in-person comprehensive instruction led by nationally recognized leaders and law enforcement trainers in these topics.
RPD officers are required to complete all of this training within their 3-year-license cycle. The RPD learning exceeds training mandated by the MN Post Board.
RPD officers are mandated to annually complete an additional 3 hours of online use of force training developed by the League of MN Cities (Patrol Online).
Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) is a well-known 40-hour-training program that gives officers hands-on de-escalation training. CIT training is a part of the culture here at RPD and has been since 2007.
- 40 hour CIT Training is provided annually
- 80% of officers have received the CIT Officer certification
- The goal is 100%
- Officers are empowered to take the time to de-escalate incidents without using force
In addition to CIT training, RPD and Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office have a self-sustaining CIT program which fosters ongoing collaboration and development between police and community services and partners. RPD has had a full-time embedded mental health professional since 2018 in partnership with Olmsted County Social Services. This was the second program of its kind in the state behind Duluth, MN. The embedded mental health professional assists in the following ways:
- Assessment on scene and case consults (mental health calls primary, but assist on many other call types to provide support/ resources/ referrals)
- Collaboration with jail, hospital, and other agencies
- Reduction in transports to ER/referrals to other services (55% diverted from ER versus prior 24% average)
- Program development (911 triage of some person in crisis calls to crisis line, increased access to resources for officers, threat assessment team)
- Community outreach/ training
- Data collection, policy development
RPD Training also provides Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics (ICAT) training
- ICAT Training is 16 hours of training
- Developed by the Police Executive Research Forum in collaboration with the US Department of Justice in 2016
- Integrated into annual use of force training attended by 100% of sworn officers
- Each newly hired RPD officer gets 2 full days (16 hours) of ICAT training prior to beginning field training
- RPD officers receive training on responding to emotionally disturbed people, people armed with weapons other than firearms, and to constantly assess and re-assess their need to use force
- RPD officers are encouraged to try and slow things down when they can, bring less lethal options to incidents that have the potential for deadly force, and keep their emotions in check so that they can make rational decisions.
The Police Policy Oversight Committee (PPOC) is made up of members of the community who review RPD policies and procedures. The PPOC is charged with reviewing RPD’s use of force policies within the next 30 days.
RPD is currently in the process of reviewing and redrafting all policies. This process began in 2019, when RPD contracted with a company to review update policies based on best practice and research. The PPOC will review all of the new policies and provide input before they are finalized.
We are committed to a community policing approach – establishing connections with members of the community in order to create, maintain and build trust and relationships.
These are a few of the programs RPD leads or participates in:
- Safe City Nights: The Safe City Nights program was designed to provide opportunities for community members, in all wards of the City of Rochester, to become familiar with the RPD members who serve them over a meal rather than just during times of trouble or need. The initiative was launched in 2019 with the intention that positive relationships are built, nurtured, and strengthened between the community and RPD. In total, over 5,400 people attended the six gatherings.
- Lights On: In 2019, we partnered with a non–profit agency that provided the RPD with vouchers to give members of the community that we find with vehicle light issues. Instead of a ticket, the community member in need received a voucher to get their lights repaired.
- New Americans Academy: In partnership with Rochester Fire Department, Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office, Olmsted County Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, Victim’s Services, Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association, Hawthorne Education Center and others held a New Americans Academy. This academy was made up of four workshops designed to give community members not born in the United States an opportunity to learn about local law enforcement and the criminal justice system. The intent of the program was to enhance communication, understanding and trust between law enforcement officers and Rochester’s immigrant community.
- Police Assisted Recovery (PAR): The Police-Assisted Recovery project seeks to find new pathways to help people stay out of jail and access drug treatment services. Collaborating on this project are the Rochester Police Department, Zumbro Valley Health Center, Doc's Recovery House, Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge, EmPower CTC, and Olmsted County Adult Behavioral Health. In 2019, PAR was the recipient of Mayo Clinic’s Shared Value Award.
- Police Activities League (PAL): PAL is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to reducing juvenile crime and violence by giving kids a safe place to play, positive role models, and creative activities to engage in—all with no charge. We currently sponsor a football and baseball team. Our goal is to develop and nurture strong communities and relationships between police officers, children, and families.
- Shop with a Cop: Shop with a Cop provides a fun filled day for a number of children in need throughout Rochester, while creating positive relationships with law enforcement. The children chosen to participate in the program are identified by schools, youth organizations, and social services agencies. On the day of the event, uniformed officers from various local and state offices volunteer their time to be with the children shopping. Each child will shop for their family as well as a child from the community where the police officer serves.
- Bike and Kids Bike Program: This is a newer program within the past three years. We go into communities where resources may be limited and interact with people, encouraging kids to bring their bikes to officers who can do repairs on those bikes. In addition, we give bikes and helmets to those who may not have one.
- National Night Out (NNO): NNO is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.
- Public speaking: RPD speaks to clubs, organizations and at public gatherings when asked. Examples include Barber Shop Talk, Human Rights Commission, RNeighbors, Meadow Park Neighborhood, Somali Elders, Rotary Club etc.
Lastly, free grocery delivery during the COVID pandemic was provided by the RPD Community Service Officers and Cub Foods, as a partnership offered to help keep
In the City of Rochester, in addition to the City Council and Mayor, we use two community led committees to help provide input for the law enforcement system. We have a 3-member Police Civil Service Commission that reviews and recommends new hires and promotions. We also have a 7-member Police Policy Oversight Committee that reviews and recommends policy and may review citizen complaints.
The Rochester Police Department’s hiring criteria is established and managed by the Police Civil Service Commission. The process included numerous steps, each of which evaluates a candidate’s character, understanding of 21st Century Policing concepts, as well as work and personal history. For the last two years we have focused much less on previous police experience and much more on the character of the candidate. This character based process includes:
- Initial resume and screening to identify any background issues in either the work or personal life.
- A testing assessment to evaluate a candidate’s attitudes, values and background.
- A second interview to explore deeper the candidates values and understanding of our values, as well as, seek clarity on any issues identified in the testing assessment.
- A thorough background investigation that includes review of all personnel records and personal interviews with all past employers. (These backgrounds are forwarded to the Civil Service Commission for a determination on a pass or fail basis)
- A complete psychological examination to determine a candidate’s fitness to perform the duties of Police Officer in the City of Rochester.
- An interview with the Chief to provide an additional review of the candidate.
Much like a driver’s license, a Minnesota Peace Officer License contains a unique number, which follows an officer regardless of where they work. This would include a record of where they have worked and if their license has ever been suspended or revoked. A Peace Officer from another state cannot be hired in Minnesota, without first obtaining a Peace Officer License, which provides an initial level of screening prior to the issuance of the license. The Minnesota POST Board also maintains a record of all background investigations done on licensees in Minnesota.
The Police Civil Service is made up of three members: one black male, one white female, and one white male.
The Police Policy Oversight Commission is seven members: One NAACP appointee, one Human Rights Commission appointee (both people of color), and five Mayoral appointees of which there are two persons of color (one male and one female), two white people (one male & one female) and a judge (white male.)
Hiring for diversity has been a goal for both the Chief and I during the last year. Our focus has paid off with excellent hires, despite a shrinking applicant pool across the state and nation in the law enforcement profession. Additionally, there are excellent officers throughout the department that have provided leadership and mentoring for the new hires.
Within the past two years, RPD has had two recruit hiring classes consisting of seven officers and ten officers, of 40% historically underrepresented individuals, including women and people of color.
We have not signed onto the #8cantwait pledge, which encourages immediate changes in our nation's police departments. However, I am confident we will meet all 8 requirements very soon. Currently we have a solid six of the eight in place and one of them, chokeholds, has not be used in practice for many years. A change was made on June 9, 2020 to prohibit the use of neck restraints/carotid control unless deadly force is authorized. This is currently under further review by the Police Policy Oversight Committee.
Here is the RPD’s current response to the #8cantwait:
Bans Chokeholds and Strangleholds:
RPD policy allows for a carotid control hold/vascular neck restraint for restraining a violent or combative individual subject only in cases where deadly force would be authorized. RPD officers are trained to use this technique only when deadly force is authorized.
RPD Policy - Crisis Intervention Incidents: Officers are required to use conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques to stabilize an incident as appropriate. When determining the necessity of a use of force, an officer’s attempt to de-escalate the incident is expected and will be evaluated. In addition, de-escalation techniques are a required part of training in RPD policy. RPD has adopted the ICAT training model for de-escalation and has been practicing and training the concept for 3 years.
Require Warning Before Shooting:
RPD Policy - Deadly Force: requires a verbal warning before using deadly force when feasible.
Exhaust All Other Means Before Shooting:
RPD Policy - Deadly Force: states an officer may use deadly force:
- To protect him/herself or another from what he/she reasonably believes would be an imminent threat of death or serious great bodily harm
- To stop a fleeing subject when the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed, or intends to commit, a felony involving the infliction or attempted infliction of great serious bodily injury or death, and the officer reasonably believes there is an imminent risk of great serious bodily injury or death to any other person if the subject is not immediately apprehended.
These are the only circumstances where an officer is justified to shoot. The ICAT model trains officers to exhaust all means before using deadly force, including tactical repositioning, considering distance and cover to allow more time for a peaceful resolution.
Duty to Intervene
RPD Policy - Duty to Intercede: This policy as well as the MN Police Code of Conduct (Principle Two, section 2, F) require officers to intervene and take appropriate action. Officers are also required to report such conduct to a supervisor.
Ban Shooting at Moving Vehicles
RPD Policy - Shooting at/or From Moving Vehicles: This policy requires officers to “move out of the path” of an approaching vehicle and only allows for shooting at a moving vehicle in order to prevent death or great bodily harm consistent with when deadly force would be authorized.
Require Use of Force Continuum
RPD has adopted a more robust critical decision-making model applied to use of force. Our model and training is based on force options weighing the State Statute standard of “objectively reasonable standard," “totality of circumstances," and “necessity” at the time force is implemented. Incorporating necessity into use of force is a higher standard than the traditional use of force continuum.
Requires Comprehensive Reporting
Comprehensive reporting is required throughout the policy manual, from crime incidents to vehicle accidents. The reporting of use of force incidents, (Reporting The Use of Force) requires that any use of force by a member of this department shall be documented promptly, completely and accurately in an appropriate report. All use of force reports are individually reviewed by supervisors.
I have called the Police Policy Oversight Committee together on June 9, 2020 to fulfill my commitment to President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Pledge for Mayors to review their policies and seeking review and recommends in the next 90 days. The state laws limit citizen boards from investigation, finding of fact and discipline. They can however make recommendations regarding the merit of a complaint as an advisory to the Police Chief and Mayor.
With the goal of being a welcoming, compassionate and just city, we entered into an agreement to undergo a citywide assessment using the Intercultural Cities Initiative using the Intercultural Cities Index (ICI) – an international measurement developed and used through the Council of Europe. Rochester is the first city in the United States to participate in this opportunity. The overall goal is to help us make evidence-based judgements of the impact and outcomes of our policies and resource investment. We worked with a number of community partners, including the Diversity Council (DC). Dee Sabol of the DC is the lead on this collaborative city-wide project which seeks to survey our community about its awareness and intersection with diverse communities and cultures. The survey has been completed and we await the results which measure us against international communities across the globe.
Rochester has been involved with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) for the last two years. The GARE team has been working to train our city staff about principles and policies that specifically address racism in city government. That training is expected to expand this year - although the pandemic has caused a delay. We hope this will allow us to look out our own city policies and policy-making with an eye always on race, equity and inclusion.