Police Reform FAQ
- Police Chief Jay Henthorne wrote a letter to the community that condemned the police action in the George Floyd incident and cited the ways the department has been a leader in police reform;
- Acquired an embedded social worker position (implemented September 2020);
- Deployed body-worn cameras to all officers (implemented January 2021)
- Made use of force data available to the public;
- Posted the department's policy manual online;
- Revised the department's use of force policy to comply with recent legislative mandates (use of chokeholds and neck restraints, prisoner securement, and duty to intercede).
Recent events have prompted a number of questions related to the Richfield Police Department and police reform. Frequently asked questions are listed below:
How is the Richfield Police Department working to continually build trust between the community and police department?
In order to build trust and confidence, the police have to make contact — door-to-door, face-to-face, intentional, non-enforcement contact with citizens in the neighborhoods of the greatest need. Through community contact, the department lets citizens know that the department hears them, is taking what they say seriously, and is planning further steps to address their concerns.
The Community Oriented Policing (COP) philosophy has been a part of the Richfield Police Department for many years. In fact, in 2007 the Richfield Police Department became the third police department in Hennepin County to join the Joint Community Police Partnership (JCPP) program in an effort to enhance the department's COP philosophy. JCPP is a Hennepin County program designed to build trust in the community by enhancing communication and understanding between law enforcement and the diverse communities in Richfield.
In addition to the JCPP program, the Richfield Police Department looked to the May 2015 report, President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, to bolster community policing efforts. This report identified best policing practices and offered recommendations on how those practices could promote effective crime reduction while building public trust. The Richfield Police Department subsequently adopted several of the report’s recommendations including, but not limited to, the following:
- Action Item 4.2.1: “Law enforcement agencies should evaluate officers on their efforts to engage members of the community and the partnerships they build. Making this part of the performance evaluation process places an increased value on developing partnerships.”
- Action Item 4.2.2: “Law enforcement agencies should evaluate their patrol deployment practices to allow sufficient time for patrol officers to participate in problem solving and community engagement activities.”
The department implemented these action items, and several others, into police policies in 2017. Officers are required to participate in 24 hours of annual community engagement activities and are empowered to be problem-solvers and develop their own programs, especially relating to youth in the community. The department has dedicated more than 1,700 hours each year to community policing aside from traditional public safety duties. More importantly, an officer’s COP activity is an essential component of their annual performance evaluation. The department also annually recognizes an officer that excels in their commitment to COP with the COP Officer of the Year Award.
All Richfield officers understand that community engagement is the foundation of good policing and is an essential job function.
What is the current perception of the Richfield Police Department and safety in the City of Richfield?
Numerous recent surveys have been completed regarding the police department, safety, and/or city services in general. In each of these surveys, respondents consistently conveyed satisfaction and trust in the police department and believed Richfield was a safe community.
In 2018 the Joint Community Police Partnership Community Liaison conducted a survey of Hispanic students (ages 7-19). The survey solicited students to evaluate their trust in the Richfield Police Department and their perception of safety in Richfield. The results found a clear correlation between both indicators: 92% of respondents reported having trust in the police department and 87% had a positive perception of safety within the City of Richfield:
The surveyed students were also asked to identify the most salient community issues. The main problems they identified included burglaries (35%), drugs (9%), and racism (4%). Notably, 52% of the students did not believe there were any significant issues facing the city:
In 2019 Richfield’s Community Development Department and MIRA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose goal is to increase the education, health, safety and success of Latino children and their parents, conducted a survey of 203 Latino Richfield residents. The survey explored perceptions and concerns with respect to city departments, programs and services. The results showed 95.5% of respondents convey trust in the Public Safety Department - the highest level of trust across any city department -while only 4.5 % convey little or no trust.
In the spring of 2020 the Richfield Police Department conducted an online citizen satisfaction survey regarding safety, crime, and perceptions of the Richfield Police Department. There were 446 responses (collected anonymously) to the survey. At least 83% reported feeling “Very Safe” or “Safe” while only 8% felt “Unsafe” or “Very Unsafe”:
The majority of residents did not believe there was a crime problem in their neighborhood:
A significant majority of respondents were satisfied with the overall performance of the Richfield Police Department:
In 2020 The National Community Survey completed a “Community Livability Report” regarding the City of Richfield. The Community Livability Report provided the opinions of a representative sample of 566 residents of the City of Richfield. The survey found Richfield is a desirable place to live, with safety as a feature that contributes to quality of life. 78% of respondents reported feeling “excellent” or “good” about safety. Only 3% felt “poor” about safety:
Respondents reported similarly high satisfaction levels in a variety of other safety-related factors. For example, 84% felt “excellent” or “good” about police services:
Are Richfield police officers trained to address their racial biases?
Many researchers have identified ways to reduce bias and minimize its effect on decision-making. One of the most effective ways to reduce explicit bias in policing is passing laws and drafting policies prohibiting things like racial profiling. The Richfield Police Department has a detailed policy to reaffirm the department's commitment to impartial/unbiased policing and to reinforce procedures that assure the department is providing service and enforcing laws in a fair and equitable manner for all.
The Richfield Police Department's impartial policing policy states that investigative detentions, pedestrian and vehicle stops, arrests, searches and property seizures by officers will be based on a standard of reasonable suspicion or probable cause in accordance with the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Officers must be able to articulate specific facts, circumstances and conclusions that support reasonable suspicion or probable cause for investigative detentions, pedestrian and vehicle stops, arrests, nonconsensual searches and property seizures. With very limited exceptions, officers can not consider race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or religion in establishing either reasonable suspicion or probable cause.
In addition to strict department policy, every Richfield police officer completes annual training specifically related to implicit bias. The training helps officers in understanding implicit and explicit bias, understanding how stereotypes and other cognitive biases can affect law enforcement decision-making, and identifying strategies for reducing the effects of bias.
Richfield police officers receive extensive training on crisis intervention training (CIT) and de-escalation strategies. This training is conducted in two formats: online and in-person. All officers receive CIT training upon initial hire and periodic CIT training thereafter by instructors certified by The Barbara Schneider Foundation. Officers also complete a spectrum of annual training courses related to crisis and conflict management including persuasion, de-escalation, emergency medical holds, mental health, and serving those with autism.
The Richfield Police Department’s training program greatly exceeds Minnesota’s minimum requirements. A large portion of mandated training is completed through the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) online training program: PATROL (Peace Officer Accredited TRaining OnLine). For more information regarding our minimum annual training requirements, please click here.
How is the Richfield Police Department dealing with mental health calls?
Richfield police officers respond to a multitude of calls for service – typically around 40,000 calls per year. Notably, mental health-related calls for service have consistently increased over the past 5+ years:
Calls involving individuals in crisis can include drug overdoses, suicidal ideation, attempted suicide, or other mental health issues. In 2020, officers responded to 394 incidents specifically involving a mental health crisis:
Officers utilize their experience and training in crisis/conflict management, persuasion, de-escalation, mental health, and serving those with autism to safely resolve crisis incidents while ensuring the individual receives the necessary services and/or medical attention. Officers also routinely partner with Community Outreach for Psychiatric Emergencies (COPE) to assist with calls where a person is in crisis. COPE provides emergency intervention services 24-hours a day, 7 days per week, when an adult is experiencing an emotional crisis that threatens their personal safety.
The Richfield Police Department implemented an embedded social worker program in September 2020. Several other communities throughout Hennepin County have similar programs in place. Through collaborative efforts, the embedded social worker program will help achieve numerous goals:
- More timely engagement of Senior Social Worker (SSW) with individuals
- Increased use of community resources to support individuals
- Increased use of public assistance programs
- Increased use of non-urgent health care systems
- Improved engagement of current service providers
- Ongoing collaboration and learning between Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health and the police department
- Improving the quality of life for those who suffer from mental illness and have encounters with law enforcement
- Improving the quality of life for those who suffer from substance use disorders and have encounters with law enforcement
- Reducing use of force, injury or death to officers and community members
- Reducing rate of arrests/prosecution of persons in mental health crisis and increase the number of persons who remain in community settings with services and supports
- Creating cost-savings through reduction of (incarceration and hospitalization) 911 calls regarding mental health crisis
- Reducing repeat calls and visits for the same issue
- Improving efficacy of law enforcement response to emergency and non-emergency mental health issues
- Increasing public satisfaction with the response to mental health emergencies and other metrics developed during the pilot utilizing key stakeholder and community input
This comprehensive approach to mental illness will ensure community members receive the assistance/treatment they need.
Does the Richfield Police Department have public data related to their use of force?
In 2017 the Richfield Police Department contracted with an independent vendor, Police Strategies LLC, to perform additional, in-depth analysis of use of force incidents. Such analysis allows the department to identify trends in use of force incidents and serves as an early intervention system to ensure officers are using appropriate levels of force and only when necessary. The Richfield Police Department was the first and only department in Minnesota to utilize the powerful analysis services of Police Strategies LLC.
Police Strategies LLC is a Washington State based company that was formed in February 2015. The company was built by law enforcement professionals, attorneys and academics with the primary goal of helping police departments use their own incident reports to make data-driven decisions and develop evidence-based best practices. The company’s three partners are all former employees of the Seattle Police Department and were directly involved with the Department of Justice’s pattern or practice investigation of the department in 2011 as well as the federal consent decree that followed. They wanted to take the lessons learned from that experience and provide other police departments with the tools they need to monitor their use of force incidents, identify high risk behavior, and evaluate the outcomes of any reforms that are implemented. The company has a partnership with the Center for the Study of Crime and Justice at Seattle University to assist in the analysis of the data.
In the summer of 2015, Police Strategies LLC launched the Police Force Analysis System? (PFAS). PFAS combines peer-reviewed research with state-of-the-art analytical tools to produce a powerful data visualization system that can be used by law enforcement, policy makers, academics, and the public. The core of PFAS builds upon the research work of Professor Geoff Alpert and his Force Factor method. Force Factor analysis formed the basis of Professor Alpert’s 2004 book “Understanding Police Use of Force – Officers, Subjects and Reciprocity” and has been the subject of several scholarly articles.
PFAS is a relational database that contains 150 fields of information extracted from law enforcement agencies’ existing incident reports and officer narratives. The data is analyzed using legal algorithms that were developed from the evaluation criteria outlined in the United States Supreme Court case of Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989). The Court adopted an objective reasonableness standard which evaluates each case based upon the information that the officer was aware of at the time the force was used and then comparing the officer’s actions to what a reasonable officer would have done when faced with the same situation. PFAS uses Force Justification Analysis to determine the risk that a use of force incident would be found to be unnecessary and Force Factor Analysis to evaluate the risk that the force would be found to be excessive. PFAS examines relevant temporal data from immediately before, during and after an application of force. PFAS uses powerful data visualization software to display the information on dynamic dashboards. These dashboards can be used by police management to identify trends and patterns in use of force practices and detect high risk behavior of individual officers. The system can also be used to spot officers who consistently use force appropriately and effectively.
Since the system can find both high risk and low risk incidents, PFAS can be used both as an Early Intervention System to correct problematic behavior as well as a training tool that highlights existing best practices.
PFAS contains several years of historical data for each agency and is designed to be updated on a regular basis. This allows the department to immediately identify trends and patterns as well as measure the impacts and outcomes of any changes that are made to policies, training, equipment or practices. For example, if a department provides crisis intervention and de-escalation training to its officers, the system will be able to evaluate whether that training has had any impact on officer behavior. PFAS currently has use of force data from 56 law enforcement agencies in seven states involving more than 7,000 incidents and 3,000 officers who used force a total of 13,000 times. PFAS is the largest database of its kind in the nation. Although the incident reports from each of these agencies uses a different format, all the data extracted and entered into the system has been standardized which allows us to make meaningful interagency comparisons. The Police Force Analysis Network? allows agencies to compare their use of force practices with other agencies in the system.
The Police Force Analysis System? provides comprehensive information about police use of coercive authority and permits the study of the intersection of individual and contextual factors that explain situational, temporal, and spatial variation in the distribution of police coercive authority. PFAS supports meaningful community engagement about police coercion by providing comprehensive and relevant data to address and inform community concern regarding police-citizen interactions.
The Richfield Police Department seeks to enhance resident trust by making use of force data available to the public. The department continues to enter use of force data into the Police Strategies LLC system and will provide updates when new data analyses become available. The first available analysis reviewed data from 2017 and 2018. The department is currently entering data from 2019 and 2020. The Richfield Police Department has budgeted $2,000 annually for this service.
For more information about the police department's use of force and/or the public data related to use of force, please see https://www.richfieldmn.gov/departments/public-safety/use-of-force-analysis
Do Richfield police officers wear body cameras?
Yes - the Richfield Police Department issued body-worn cameras (BWCs) to all officers in January 2021. The department's BWCs also synchronize with our patrol vehicle camera systems to increase the likelihood an incident is captured from multiple camera perspectives.
What steps has the Richfield Police Department taken to reduce deadly force encounters?
The Richfield Police Department regularly examines its policies to ensure compliance with various regulations, laws, legal precedent, and best practices, especially those concerning use of force. A campaign called 8 Can’t Wait (8cantwait.org) identified eight practices that can lead to 72% fewer police killings. The Richfield Police Department already meets and/or exceeds these practices:
- The department is committed to resolving conflicts through the use of communication skills, crisis intervention and de-escalation tactics, when feasible.
- Policy prohibits officers from using the following restraints:
- A choke hold;
- Tying all of a person’s limbs together behind the person’s back to render the person immobile; or
- Securing a person in any way that results in transporting the person face down in a vehicle.
- Policy requires officers to intercede to prevent the use of unreasonable force and requires officers to report instances of inappropriate force.
- Policy also requires officers to report any violations of constitutionally-protected rights.
- Policy prohibits officers from shooting at a moving vehicle (with limited exceptions).
- Department members are prohibited from using force based on bias against a person’s race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other protected characteristic.
- Force used as punishment or retaliation is prohibited.
- Policy requires that police officers use the minimum force that is reasonably necessary to effectively bring an incident under control.
- Policy states a verbal warning should precede the use of deadly force, where feasible.
- Policy requires a report each time an officer uses force or threatens to use force.
What is the diversity of Richfield police officers?
The department's hiring philosophy is to acquire and retain officers of the highest caliber. The department is more diverse than ever before and is proud to be one of the most diverse police agencies within Minnesota. Of the 46 sworn officers, 8 are female (17%) and 11 are persons of color/multiracial (24%). The wide variety of officers’ backgrounds brings cultural awareness and language skills to the community. The police department is proud that the officers' racial diversity closely matches that of the city.
Does the Richfield Police Department collect demographic data on traffic stops?
Sometimes - the department records demographic data in formal reports/arrests. If a traffic stop leads to an arrest, the demographic data is recorded within the report. However, the vast majority of traffic stops do not result in an arrest. For example, if a motorist is stopped and released with a warning, there would not be any recorded demographic data.
Some departments do collect demographic data on every traffic stop. However, such data may not provide an accurate depiction of trends. Unlike age and gender, which appear on an individual’s driver’s license, discerning race or ethnicity requires either a verbal inquiry of the individual or an officer’s subjective determination. Since a verbal inquiry risks exacerbating tensions during a potentially tense encounter, research has recommended using the officer’s perception of race or ethnicity if such data is collected. Additionally, an officer’s subjective classification of a person’s demographic information, especially concerning one’s ethnic background, may inappropriately categorize the individual and fails to recognize the rich ethnic heritage of most Americans. The use of subjective data, or inappropriately labeling a person into a certain demographic, could result in reduced data reliability.
Although the department does not currently collect demographic data on each traffic stop, we understand and recognize that such data could be used as an early warning system for profiling - a behavior we do not tolerate. The Richfield Police Department is looking at effective ways to implement demographic data collection for all traffic stops that does not solely rely on subjective input.
The department does record demographic data on incidents involving the application of force and/or arrests. Available data can be found here.
Does the Richfield Police Department examine a police officer candidate's work history?
Potential police officer candidates must meet a number of requisites prior to employment. For example, State law imposes the following minimum standards for peace officers:
- The applicant shall be a citizen of the United States.
- The applicant shall possess a valid Minnesota driver's license; or in case of residency therein, a valid driver's license from another state; or eligibility to obtain either license.
- The applicant shall complete a comprehensive written application.
- The applicant shall submit to a thorough background search, including searches by local, state, and federal agencies, to disclose the existence of any criminal record or conduct which would adversely affect the performance by the applicant of peace officer duties.
- The applicant must not be required to register as a predatory offender under Minnesota Statutes, section 243.166 or 243.167.
- No applicant may be appointed to the position of peace officer who has been convicted:
- of a felony in this state or in any other state or federal jurisdiction;
- of any offense in any other state or federal jurisdiction which would have been a felony if committed in Minnesota;
- under Minnesota Statutes, section 609.224, 609.2242, 609.231, 609.2325, 609.233, 609.2335, 609.234, 609.324, 609.465, 609.466, 609.52, or 609.72, subdivision 3; or convicted under any state or federal narcotics or controlled substance law irrespective of any proceeding under Minnesota Statutes, section 152.18, or any similar law of another state or federal law; or
- of any of the crimes listed in this item in another state or federal jurisdiction, or under a local ordinance that would be a conviction if committed in Minnesota.
- The applicant shall be fingerprinted for the purpose of disclosure of any felony convictions. Fingerprint cards shall be forwarded to the appropriate divisions of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The chief law enforcement officer shall immediately notify the board if a previous felony conviction is discovered.
- A licensed physician or surgeon shall make a thorough medical examination of the applicant to determine that the applicant is free from any physical condition which might adversely affect the performance of peace officer duties.
- An evaluation, including an oral interview, shall be made by a licensed psychologist to determine that the applicant is free from any emotional or mental condition which might adversely affect the performance of peace officer duties.
- The applicant shall pass a job-related examination of the applicant's physical strength and agility to demonstrate the possession of physical skills necessary to the accomplishment of the duties and functions of a peace officer.
- The applicant shall successfully complete an oral examination conducted by or for the agency to demonstrate the possession of communication skills necessary to the accomplishment of the duties and functions of a peace officer.
As outlined in section (4), the department is required to perform a thorough background investigation of an officer candidate prior to hire. Background investigations are performed by sworn police officers assigned to investigations. The background process is extensive – we speak with neighbors, family, friends, significant others (including former ones), teachers, banks, and employers to get a complete picture of the candidate’s character and work ethic. A significant portion of the background is dedicated to former employers – especially candidates that are current/former law enforcement officers. Records of previous misconduct would likely result in a candidate not moving forward in the hiring process. Due to stringent hiring practices, over 50% of candidates do not pass the background phase.
Why hasn't the Richfield Police Department adopted the Camden, NJ Use of Force policy?
The Camden County Policy Department’s new use of force policy revolves around six core principles, each of which has at its core the sanctity of all human life. The policies six core principles are:
- Officers may use force only to accomplish specific law enforcement objectives.
- Whenever feasible, officers should attempt to de-escalate confrontations with the goal of resolving encounters without force. Officers may only use force that is objectively reasonable, necessary, and as a last resort.
- Officers must use only the amount of force that is proportionate to the circumstances.
- Deadly force is only authorized as a last resort and only in strict accordance with this directive.
- Officers must promptly provide or request medical aid.
- Employees have a duty to stop and report uses of force that violate any applicable law and/or this directive.
The Richfield Police Department’s Use of Force policy already meets or exceeds each of these core principles:
Principle 1: Policy states officers shall use only that amount of force that reasonably appears necessary given the facts and circumstances perceived by the officer at the time of the event to accomplish a legitimate law enforcement purpose.
Principle 2: Policy states an officer shall use de-escalation techniques and other alternatives to higher levels of force consistent with their training whenever possible and appropriate before resorting to force and to reduce the need for force. Whenever possible and when such delay will not compromise the safety of another or the officer and will not result in the destruction of evidence, escape of a suspect, or commission of a crime, an officer shall allow an individual time and opportunity to submit to verbal commands before force is used.
The department's use of force policy also states physical force shall not be used against individuals in restraints, except as objectively reasonable to prevent their escape or prevent imminent bodily injury to the individual, the officer, or another person. In these situations, only the amount of force necessary to control the situation shall be used.
Principle 3: Policy ensures officers respect the sanctity of human life when making decisions regarding the use of force. Sworn law enforcement officers have been granted the extraordinary authority to use force when necessary to accomplish lawful ends. Officers shall treat everyone with dignity and without prejudice and use only the force that is objectively reasonable to effectively bring an incident under control while protecting the safety of others and the officer.
Principle 4: Policy strictly limits when deadly force is authorized. Use of deadly force is justified in the following circumstances:
- An officer may use deadly force to protect him/herself or others from what he/she reasonably believes would be an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury.
- An officer may use deadly force 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 threatened infliction of serious bodily injury or death, and the officer reasonably believes that there is an imminent risk of serious bodily injury or death to any other person if the subject is not immediately apprehended. Under such circumstances, a verbal warning should precede the use of deadly force, where feasible.
Principle 5: Policy states once the scene is safe and as soon as practical, an officer shall provide appropriate medical care consistent with his or her training to any individual who has visible injuries, complains of being injured, or requests medical attention. This may include providing first aid, requesting emergency medical services, and/or arranging for transportation to an emergency medical facility.
Principle 6: Policy explicitly details an officer’s duty to stop and report inappropriate uses of force. Regardless of tenure or rank, a peace officer shall intercede when:
- present and observing another peace officer using force in violation of section 609.066, subdivision 2, or otherwise beyond which is objectively reasonable under the circumstances; and
- physically or verbally able to do so.
The Richfield Police Department's Use of Force Policy was recently certified by the Minnesota POST Board and was found to be in compliance with Section 2 of the Presidential Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities, dated June 16, 2020, Executive Order No. 13929 (the “Executive Order on Safe Policing”).
The department policy manual, including all use of force policies, can be found here.
It should be noted Camden, NJ has a population of nearly 75,000 residents. The Camden County Police Department is staffed with approximately 400 sworn officers – a ratio of one officer for every 187 residents. In order for Richfield to accomplish a similar staffing ratio, the department would need nearly 200 officers. The Richfield Police Department currently employs 46 sworn police officers.
Do officers receive support or training regarding Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM)?
The Richfield Police Department is committed to officer wellness and officer resiliency. The department recently hosted in-depth training that included subject matter experts in nutrition, physical fitness, finance, and stress management. We also have a robust chaplain program guided by a local pastor, Brice Eichlersmith. He is instrumental to the success of this program and clearly understands that police officers that are physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically healthy have a greater capacity to perform their jobs and are more effective in their service to the community. Pastor Eichlersmith dramatically improves officers’ wellness through trust-based relationships he has developed with every officer in the department. Third, the department partners with the Metro CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) Team to provide officers with pre-incident training to build resiliency regarding workplace stress and post-incident briefings to help officers recover from traumatic incidents. The department will continue to make officer wellness a priority.
The Richfield Police Department and employees understand that the performance of law enforcement duties are inherently demanding, that such duties are sometimes performed under dangerous conditions and/or in a stressful environment, and that certain situations create a significant risk of physical and emotional harm to the officer. It is, therefore, important to the department for the safety and well-being of its employees to ensure that all personnel in the service of the department are physically, psychologically and emotionally fit and receive care for injuries received in the line of duty.
The department has an extensive policy related to post critical incidents and CISM to ensure officers remain healthy and fit for duty.
What are the services available to victims of violent crimes?
Richfield police officers provide each crime victim with an informational card (available in both Spanish and English) that outlines available resources and crime victim rights. In some instances, officers also ensure the victim receives assistance from Cornerstone – an advocacy service that utilizes a survivor-centered and empowerment approach.
The JCPP Community Liaison also plays an important role in supporting crime victims. For example, in 2018-2019 Richfield's community liaison spent 45% of her time providing direct services to crime victims. These services were provided primarily to persons of color.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office (HCAO) Victim Services Division provides services to victims in a safe and respectful environment. Staff focuses on the rights and needs of crime victims and witnesses. This work is crucial to prosecuting a case and ultimately seeking justice for victims. Each victim is assigned an advocate. The advocate is there to support the victim and their family as the case moves through the criminal justice process. Advocates provide case updates, explain court procedures, answer questions, make referrals, and offer other forms of assistance.
The Minnesota Bureau of Apprehension (BCA) recently hired a victim advocate who is available to assist other law enforcement agencies. This new position was based on the recommendations of the State of Minnesota Working Group on Police-Involved Deadly Force Encounters:
Action Step 1.3.1: The Department of Public Safety should establish a family Liaison position to interact directly with the affected families of those involved in police deadly encounters. This position will ensure families are treated with dignity and respect, keep the families informed in a timely and consistent manner, and refer the families to available services.
How are Richfield police officers held accountable? What is the disciplinary process?
The Richfield Police Department strives to provide the best possible services to the community with the best possible officers. The Richfield Police Department requires all of its employees to serve with respect, integrity, and professionalism. However, there is always room for improvement.
Anyone is able to make a compliment or complaint on any officer at any time. Compliments or complaints can be made in-person, over the telephone, or electronically. The online complaint form can be found here. All complaints are carefully reviewed. For detailed information on how complaints and/or internal investigations are handled, please click here.
The department has a number of policies to ensure employees conduct themselves in a manner which fosters professionalism and personal integrity with due regard for the mission of the department, the rights of fellow employees, and the general public. Officers that violate police policy are subject to progressive discipline including a documented oral reprimand, a written reprimand, suspension, demotion, or discharge. The department's progressive discipline policy can be found here.
Has the Richfield Police Department implemented the recommendations proposed by the State of Minnesota Working Group on Police-Involved Deadly Force Encounters?
The Richfield Police Department already has a number of policies that comply with the proposed recommendations and actions steps. However, some of the recommendations require legislative action to accomplish. Minnesota lawmakers are currently examining a variety of options, including those presented by the State of Minnesota Working Group on Police-Involved Deadly Force Encounters, in implementing effective police reform. The Richfield Police Department is awaiting guidance from state lawmakers regarding mandated changes to policy and/or procedure.
What should I do if I am pulled over?
Being stopped by a law enforcement officer can be a stressful experience, but knowing what to do during the traffic stop will help to ensure a safe interaction for all involved. When you see emergency lights behind you:
- Stay calm
- Slow your vehicle and activate your turn signal
- As soon as safely possible, pull to the right shoulder; or if on a multilane road and closer to the left shoulder, move to the left shoulder if there is a full lane to park
- Avoid stopping on a bridge, curved part of a roadway, or within the lane of traffic.
- If the stop is made after dark, turn on your vehicle’s interior light
- Keep all doors shut, and remain in the vehicle unless directed otherwise by the officer
- Keep your hands on the steering wheel so they are easily observable
- Give the officer your full attention
- Do not make sudden movements or search for your driver’s license or vehicle documents, wait for the officer to give you instructions
- If you have a weapon or firearm in the vehicle, inform the officer upon your first interaction with them.
The officer may ask to see your identification (driver’s license, photo ID, etc.) and proof of insurance. If the documents are out of reach, tell the officer where they are located before reaching for them.When the officer completes their interaction with you they may issue a verbal warning, written warning or traffic citation that may include a fine. If you disagree with the officer’s decision to issue a traffic citation, do not prolong the contact by arguing with the officer. If you wish to contest the citation, you will have the opportunity to explain your point of view in court. If clarifying questions are needed about the warning or citation, ask the officer before the interaction is completed and avoid getting out of your vehicle after the officer walks away.
Failure to follow or refusal to comply with any lawful order or direction of a law enforcement officer is illegal and can result in being arrested. Do not resist if taken into custody by law enforcement.The enforcement of traffic laws is an effective tool in changing unsafe driving behavior, reducing crashes and injuries, and saving lives. If a law enforcement officer gives you a warning or a citation for a traffic violation, their intent is to deter future illegal and/or unsafe behavior and to keep our roadways safe. Effective and clear communication from all involved parties can make a traffic stop a safe experience.In addition to the guidelines above, if you have a firearm in the vehicle keeps your hands on the steering wheel in a visible location and when the officer approaches let them know that you have a firearm in the vehicle, and tell them where the firearm is located while continuing to keep your hands on the steering wheel. Do not reach for the firearm. The officer may take possession of the weapon, for safety reasons until the contact is complete.Drivers should not:
- Reach around inside the vehicle. If you need to reach for an item, contact the officer verbally to indicate the item that you need to locate and only do so after the officer has given verbal permission.
- Get out of the vehicle unexpectedly or approach the officer. If you need to exit your vehicle, contact the officer verbally to ask to exit the vehicle, and only exit after the officer has given verbal permission to do so.
While every traffic stop varies based on the circumstances, drivers can generally expect the officer to:
- Greet the driver.
- Identify themselves as a law enforcement officer.
- Obtain the driver's license and proof of insurance.
- Inform the individual of the reason for the stop and explain the circumstances for issuance of the citation or warning.
- Check both the validity and authenticity of the driver's license.
The following forms of identification are acceptable in identifying the driver during a traffic stop:
- Minnesota driver's license
- Out-of-state driver's license
- Temporary license
- Learner's permit
- Military ID
- Consulate / International driver's license
Depending on the nature of the stop, the officer may issue a citation or warning, or take a violator into custody. The citation should contain the specific code or statute and a description of the violation. Accepting a citation from an officer is not an admission of guilt or responsibility; it's simply acknowledging the receipt of the citation in the case of a civil violation and promising to appear in the case of a criminal violation. All citations will be referred to a local jurisdiction for a hearing. Drivers can use the court system to address criminal or civil matters, with the option of a diversion program in some cases, such as driver education training.Law enforcement officers are expected to maintain the highest level of professionalism during a traffic stop. Should questions arise regarding the officer's conduct during a traffic stop, drivers should contact the officer's law enforcement agency or supervisor using the officer information on the citation.
What is the status of the Brian Quinones shooting incident?
On September 7, 2019, at 10:22 p.m. a police pursuit that began in Edina ended near the intersection of 77th Street East and Chicago Avenue in Richfield. The driver, Brian Jesus Quinones-Rosario, exited his vehicle and confronted officers with a knife. Quinones-Rosario was shot and subsequently died at the scene. The incident involved officers from the Edina and Richfield Police Departments.
The incident was investigated and reviewed by Hennepin County. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) presented its investigative findings to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office (HCAO). Richfield provided all requested information to both the HCSO and HCAO.
On February 10, 2020, the HCAO announced that the five officers involved in the shooting were justified in their use of deadly force and criminal charges would not be brought against them. For more information on the HCAO's decision, visit their website.
All incident information was subsequently presented to a labor and employment law specialist to perform an unbiased, independent review. The review found the involved Richfield police officers properly followed all relevant policies, procedures, and state statutes.
On June 6, 2020 the City of Edina, the City of Richfield, and the involved officers were served with a civil lawsuit stemming from the incident. The federal suit remains in litigation.