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The Robbinsdale Deputy Registrar's Office will close at 4:00 p.m. daily as we transition to MNLARS, the new statewide motor vehicle system.

De-escalation Training

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De-escalation training for police is certainly a current topic in the news and in communities across the country.  Contrary to what the media sometimes portrays,  de-escalation training is not new.  Across the country however, implementation of such training and use of force policies can vary.  In recent years there has been more training emphasis on responding to mental health issues and additional training made available. 

 Information regarding the Robbinsdale Police Department:

  • The opening paragraph in our use of force department policy states:
  • De-escalation is part of our ongoing use of force training which is provided annually to all officers in our department.  In addition to basic use of force techniques and tactics we also include reality based scenario training which emphasize verbal commands and de-escalation.  At our last all-day training we trained at an unoccupied apartment building where officers were confronted with a variety of scenarios ranging from break-ins to suspicious persons to traffic stops.  Role players challenged the officers.  In this particular training, all the outcomes were solvable without deadly force. 
  • Our Standard of Conduct Policy states the following regarding use of force:
    •  In a complex society, law enforcement personnel are daily confronted with situations where control must be exercised to effect arrests and to protect the public safety.  Control may be achieved through advice, warnings, and persuasion, or by the use of physical force.  While the use of reasonable physical force may be necessary in situations which cannot be otherwise controlled, force may not be resorted to unless other reasonable alternatives have been exhausted or would clearly be ineffective under the particular circumstances.  Officers are permitted to use whatever force is reasonable and necessary to protect others or themselves from bodily harm.
  •  De-escalation is part of our ongoing use of force training which is provided annually to all officers in our department.  In addition to basic use of force techniques and tactics we also include reality based scenario training which emphasize verbal commands and de-escalation.  At our last all-day training we trained at an unoccupied apartment building where officers were confronted with a variety of scenarios ranging from break-ins to suspicious persons to traffic stops.  Role players challenged the officers.  In this particular training, all the outcomes were solvable without deadly force.
  •  Although there is an 8 hour crisis intervention training (CIT) available, we are sending our officers to a 40 hour course.  Over half of our patrol officers have received this training and two took additional training to become trainers which will allow us to keep updated on new information and techniques.  We are in the process of getting our remaining officers through this same training.  It takes a while due to scheduling issues and available training dates.  In addition we have newer officers who also need to receive the training.
  • As to cost, the training is expensive – both in fees and for lost time on the street, especially for the week long CIT training.  Neither the City Manager, Mayor, nor City Council has ever questioned the police department training budget and they have provided adequate funding for our training needs.
  • Our officers handle calls on a daily basis that require tact, diplomacy, and de-escalation – from minor to serious.   Unfortunately the successfully de-escalated calls don’t make the news.  Internally we make sure our officers are recognized for their successful handling of complicated events through tact, diplomacy, and de-escalation. 
  • With that being said, we also realize that there is not always time and space for officers to pull back and not every situation allows for de-escalation.  Officers need the latitude to respond appropriately to protect themselves or others when they are not afforded the time to de-escalate or disengage.

    As a resident recently expressed: “We cannot expect our officers to be more than human, but we can arm them with strategies and skills which will allow them to effectively serve and protect our communities in ways which decrease the likelihood of lethal responses to people dealing with mental health.”

    We are trying to do our best to live up to those expectations. 

    James T. Franzen

    Chief of Police

    Letter to Editor of Star Tribune in response to this information.

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