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Michael Quinn
Strength and Honor in Everything You Do!
Strength and Honor in Everything You Do!


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Management by Policy Absent Accountability? – a bad plan.

On 8/10/2016, the Minneapolis StarTribune ran an article about new policies for Minneapolis cops. By way of introduction to this article, here are the policies. The date indicates the day they were included in the MPD Policy Manual.
A. Sworn employees have an obligation to protect the public and other employees.
B. It shall be the duty of every sworn employee present at any scene where physical force is being applied to either stop or attempt to stop another sworn employee when force is being inappropriately applied or is no longer required.
5-304 THREATENING THE USE OF FORCE AND DE-ESCALATION (10/16/02) (06/01/12) (07/28/16)
A. Threatening the Use of Force
As an alternative and/or the precursor to the actual use of force, MPD officers shall consider verbally announcing their intent to use force, including displaying an authorized weapon as a threat of force, when reasonable under the circumstances. The threatened use of force shall only occur in situations that an officer reasonably believes may result in the authorized use of force. This policy shall not be construed to authorize unnecessarily harsh language. (08/17/07) (07/28/16)
B. De-escalation
Whenever reasonable according to MPD policies and training, officers shall use de-escalation tactics to gain voluntary compliance and seek to avoid or minimize use of physical force. (06/01/12) (07/28/16)
1. When safe and feasible, officers shall:
a. Attempt to slow down or stabilize the situation so that more time, options and resources are available.
i. Mitigating the immediacy of threat gives officers more time to call additional officers or specialty units and to use other resources.
ii. The number of officers on scene may make more force options available and may help reduce overall force used.
b. Consider whether a subject’s lack of compliance is a deliberate attempt to resist or an inability to comply based on factors including, but not limited to:
· Medical conditions
· Mental impairment
· Developmental disability
· Physical limitation
· Language barrier
· Influence of drug or alcohol use
· Behavioral crisis
Such consideration, when time and circumstances reasonably permit, shall then be balanced against incident facts when deciding which tactical options are the most appropriate to resolve the situation safely.

2. De-escalation tactics include, but are not limited to:
• Placing barriers between an uncooperative subject and an officer.
• Containing a threat.
• Moving from a position that exposes officers to potential threats to a safer position.
• Reducing exposure to a potential threat using distance, cover or concealment.
• Communication from a safe position intended to gain the subject’s compliance, using verbal persuasion, advisements or warnings.
• Avoidance of physical confrontation, unless immediately necessary (e.g. to protect someone or stop dangerous behavior).
• Using verbal techniques to calm an agitated subject and promote rational decision making.
• Calling additional resources to assist, including more officers, CIT officers and officers equipped with less-lethal tools.

I am glad that Chief Harteau recognizes that there should never be a “time limit” when responding to potentially critical incidents. Historically, as she noted, that has not always been true in policing. Clearing your calls so you can race to the next one was, and still is, a priority for some officers. On its face, the new policy appears to be aimed at changing police behaviors regarding people in crisis, a problem that has received national attention lately as a result of police shooting unarmed citizens. But by itself, a new policy - without training or specifics on how street cops are supposed to implement it, in a city where police behaviors are causing a rift in police community relations - doesn’t change anything. You can’t policy your way out of bad police procedure. That’s bad management and an abdication of responsibility on the part of Harteau’s administration.
Improvement in police community relations and specifically MPD’s response to persons in crisis will not come from policies; it will come when misbehaving cops are held accountable and out of the Crisis Intervention Team training that MPD is currently doing. That training will provide officers with a set of responses to critical incidents that involve some options to deadly force and it may be the most important training the street officers will ever get. I know from my experience working with the New Orleans Crisis Intervention Team trainer, Cecile Tebo, that the essence of the new policy changes in the MPD manual can possibly accomplish two things. First, they will reinforce the principles taught in Critical Incident training and second, they will lend support to the officers who take the time needed to use de-escalation techniques with a person in crisis. The problem is that the policy lists responses and actions that are best left in the training curriculum and not put in the manual. More on that later.

There has been a lot of discussion recently in professional journals, the news media, and other venues about police use of deadly force and de-escalation training. De-escalation has been a part of police training in academies and law enforcement schools since I started with Minneapolis in 1975. As an advisory board member at Hibbing Community College for over 30 years I signed on with many of my colleagues to use of force curriculum that emphasized de-escalation. Over the course of my career I witnessed and used de-escalation techniques that included everything listed in the new policies plus some that would have violated those policies but were very successful. The phrase “You couldn’t make this stuff up!” is said every day on the street as officers deal with the human condition; a condition you can’t manage by policy.

In a Star Tribune, August 11, 2016, editorial “Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation, said many officers already use de-escalation techniques. “It’s always easier to resolve a situation verbally,” Kroll said. “But I’m concerned that officers not be afraid to defend themselves.” It is true that many officers work hard to de-escalate situations. It is not true that it is always easier to resolve a situation verbally. If it was true we wouldn’t need the Crisis Intervention Team training. It is better for everyone when a situation can be handled and resolved without the need for physical force and most cops really do try to make that happen. It is a win/win for everyone. But, de-escalation in critical incidents is hard and it takes practice and experience to become adept at de-escalation skills.

For the officer trying to resolve a critical incident, active listening skills and the ability to communicate (dialogue) are critical; and sometimes they will fail despite their best efforts. When that happens the officer’s legitimate use of coercive force may become necessary to protect the citizen and themselves. Following an event that ends in force or deadly force, whether you did the right thing or not, you will be second guessed in the media, face potential lawsuits, get criticism from within your department, and be forced to explain why a cell phone video showing only tiny bits and pieces of the event don’t match up exactly with what is in your report or what witnesses claim they saw. It’s no wonder Lt. Kroll is concerned.

I am concerned because it is unrealistic to think that a policy added to the Minneapolis Police Manual detailing how force should or should not be applied in a given situation will change behaviors. The reality is that no officer ever faces the same situation. Each officer brings a different skill set. No set of facts or circumstances is ever identical to what you could imagine or train for. No suspect, victim, witness, weapon, or other factor is the exactly the same. Based on policy, we train under general guidelines being specific in our policies only when truly necessary. An example would be defining the specific weapon allowed for a duty weapon or the requirement for a specific score on targets with that firearm on the range. How we train to meet those policy guidelines is in the training curriculum.

When we put details best left to the training curriculum into policy such as what we see in the new use of force policies in Minneapolis we only create fodder for plaintiff’s attorneys. Given the nature of the job you will always be able to find something in a critical incident that could be considered a violation when you put that much detail in a department policy. That concerns me because those details will play in the minds of some officers, especially new officers, involved in critical incidents and it could be a fatal distraction just when they should be focused on the safety of the citizens and themselves.

Some of the folks that I consider the best and wisest men and women in law enforcement have always told me that a policy manual is made up of guidelines that inform officers on how they expect an officer to do the job under normal circumstances with the understanding that there is nothing “normal” or routine about any call for service. And there are always exceptions. If Chief Harteau’s purpose for the new policies is to improve police behavior, the department and the citizens would be better served if the Minneapolis Police made an effort to investigate misconduct, hold officers accountable to the policies and laws already in place and make supervisors do the job they are being paid to do – supervise.

Here are the numbers that show that Minneapolis PD needs to do a better job of holding their cops accountable: As of 2010 Minneapolis ranked 4th in the nation for complaints of police misconduct out of the 89 agencies with 500-999 sworn officers, while the State of Minnesota ranked 37th overall. By comparison, the St. Paul Police Department, our sister city, doesn’t even show up in charts and graphs of departments with high numbers of complaints. (Reeves, 2011) (National Police Misconduct Reporting Project, 2015)

You could argue that those numbers are now 6 years old and things are better under the new policies. I would argue that things are worse as a result of the lack of accountability in the MPD.

As evidence I present the following:

Minneapolis Police Officer Tyrone “Barze has been the subject of at least six other lawsuits alleging excessive force and wrongful arrest since 2012, according to federal court records. Two of the suits were later dismissed, but the city paid $318,772 in settlements over the past two years, records show.” (Jany, 2016)

As of August 28, 2013 – “Of 439 cases involving Minneapolis police misconduct handled by a new office created last fall, not one so far has resulted in discipline of a police officer.”
… In addition, the city of Minneapolis made $14 million in payouts for alleged police misconduct between 2006 and 2012, but the Minneapolis Police Department rarely concluded that the officers involved in those cases did anything wrong, according to a Star Tribune analysis.
… (Furst, 2013)

An MPR News analysis of data from the Minneapolis City Attorney shows the city has paid out more than $21 million to resolve misconduct lawsuits and claims during the last decade. (Williams, 2014)

Officer Michael Griffin “A Minneapolis police officer whose two excessive force lawsuits have cost the city $410,000 has had 19 complaints filed against him since he started in 2007, six of them last year.” (McKinney, 2015)

Enough said about that. If you are a taxpayer in Minneapolis, you should be concerned too.

The August StarTribune editorial also talks about the new policy on Peer Intervention in cases of excessive force. I have some knowledge of how that works. In New Orleans I spent almost four years off and on authoring a two-day program on Peer Intervention that works for the cops and the citizens. This was a huge project working with and being advised by Dr. Ervin Staub, Dr. Joel Dvoskin, Civil Rights Attorney Mary Howell, Critical Incident Team Trainer Cecile Tebo, Federal Prosecutor Steve Parker, Cold case homicide investigator Dr. Everett Doolittle, Civil Rights Activist Ted Quant, Police Psychologist Dr. Erin Nelson, the U.S. Department of Justice, the federal consent decree monitors, community members, and New Orleans Police Officers across all ranks – current and retired.

The New Orleans Police Department struggled for many years with corruption and significant challenges to their legitimacy. They are on the road to recovering their legitimacy. Part of that recovery is the peer intervention program. Here is what New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison wrote about the peer intervention program they have trademarked under the name “Ethical Policing is Courageous” (EPIC). “We believe this is the transformational tool that will catalyze our many ongoing reformation efforts and help make this agency one of the premier law enforcement organizations in the United States.”

In their effort to regain legitimacy with the community and comply with a federal consent decree, New Orleans officers understand that Peer Intervention is not just about the use of force. Peer intervention creates the synergy that allows officers to hold each other accountable for any act or failure to act that might dishonor the badge, the agency or the officer’s family. It is about permission to intervene and permission to accept an intervention from another officer. You don’t accomplish that with a policy; you accomplish it by spending hours in a facilitated dialogue about peer intervention as an officer survival tool. And most importantly, you accomplish it when everyone from the Chief to the lowliest intern believes and practices peer intervention without the fear of retaliation or recrimination.

The use of force, when excessive, is already governed by Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 109 S.Ct. 1865.May 15, 1989. To better understand how that works, here are some key citations from that opinion that give officers guidance to using force.

The Fourth Amendment "reasonableness" inquiry is whether the officers' actions are "objectively reasonable" in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation. The "reasonableness" of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, and its calculus must embody an allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions about the amount of force necessary in a particular situation. Pp. 1871-1872.

With respect to a claim of excessive force, the same standard of reasonableness at the moment applies: "Not every push or shove, even if it may later seem unnecessary in the peace of a judge's chambers," Johnson v. Glick, 481 F.2d, at 1033, violates the Fourth Amendment. The calculus of reasonableness must embody *397 allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments--in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving--about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.

As in other Fourth Amendment contexts, however, the "reasonableness" inquiry in an excessive force case is an objective one: the question is whether the officers' actions are "objectively reasonable" in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation.

An officer's evil intentions will not make a Fourth Amendment violation out of an objectively reasonable use of force; nor will an officer's good intentions make an objectively unreasonable use of force constitutional.

Under Graham v. Connor, an officer’s use of force comes down to doing what is necessary when it is necessary by a reasonable officer at the scene, given the facts known to that officer and the totality of the circumstances without regard to the officer’s motivation. It really is that simple, and that complicated.
The law regarding intervening in another officer’s actions is much clearer. There is a legal duty to intervene in the misconduct of other officers. Here are some of the most important cases.

In Putman v. Gerloff, 639 F.2d 415, 423 (8th Cir. 1981) “We conclude although Crowe was a subordinate, the evidence is sufficient to hold him jointly liable for failing to intervene if a fellow officer, albeit his superior, was using excessive force and otherwise was unlawfully punishing the prisoner. . ..”

In Anderson v. Branen, 17 F.3d 552 (2d Cir. 1994). “[A]ll law enforcement officials have an affirmative duty to intervene to protect the constitutional rights of citizens from infringement by other law enforcement officers in their presence. . ..”

In Torres v. Allentown Police, No. 13-3066 (2014). “Plaintiff can sustain a claim for a Fourth Amendment violation against an officer who did not participate directly in the use of force if that officer failed to intervene despite having had a reasonable opportunity to do so. . ..”

In summary: Officers are allowed to use the force necessary in the judgement of a reasonable officer at the scene but officers must intervene in a case of excessive force. The new MPD policy that states “Sworn employees have an obligation to protect the public and other employees. It shall be the duty of every sworn employee present at any scene where physical force is being applied to either stop or attempt to stop another sworn employee when force is being inappropriately applied or is no longer required” doesn’t work on several levels.
First of all, there are many reasons why physical force may look like it is being “inappropriately applied”. When an officer decides that force is necessary and their training or physical abilities at that point in time are not sufficient to use force in the text book approved manner, it is the backup officers’ first responsibility to assist that officer to gain control of the suspect using the force necessary based on how a reasonable officer would act. Cops don’t have the luxury of playing 20 questions about why the officer lost control and needed help. When what they are doing is not working and they are starting to improvise should cops assume from the policy that the only option is to “stop” the use of force? Sorry, that’s not usually an option.

I walked a beat in downtown Minneapolis by myself on many nights when there was no partner available. I was a trained use of force instructor. In the one-on-one struggles that occurred with drunks, prostitutes, drug dealers and other assorted characters I was able to “appropriately” apply force in most of those struggles. Blood, sweat, alcohol, drugs and the willingness to fight to the death make the word “appropriate” difficult to define. I’ve had my own weapon pointed into my chest twice by “unarmed” men trying to kill me over misdemeanor offenses. I was attacked three times with knives. The “appropriate” response by a reasonable officer would have been to shoot them. I didn’t. What I did in each case was probably inappropriate given the circumstances, but everyone survived. That’s 5 lives, plus mine, that made it through the night because I responded in an inappropriate but creative manner based on my skills and abilities. Every police officer I have ever talked to who had any time on the street can tell you similar and scarier stories of survival.

Next, when is force “no longer required”? This can be a tough question. Striking someone in handcuffs or when they appear to be under another officer’s control may be excessive. But how do we judge that when a jury in the District of Minnesota, United States District Court, cleared Minneapolis Police Officer Jason Andersen of excessive force even after other police officers found it necessary to intervene and stop Andersen and they testified in federal court that his force was excessive? (Hanners, 2015)

Officer Michael Griffin was indicted on 9 counts regarding alleged brutality and the jury cleared him on 6 counts and could not come to a unanimous verdict on the other three. There are important issues in this case that bear reflection regarding peer intervention.

The alleged victims in this case prevailed in a civil suit against Griffin and the city had already paid out $150,000.00 for the settlement before the criminal trial. Griffin has now cost the city a total of $410,000.00. I have always taught that being found liable in a civil lawsuit is the community’s way of telling cops that they may have been within the law, but they were outside community standards. It is this conflict between community expectations and police conduct that is at the heart of our loss of legitimacy in the community. The community has spoken loud and clear regarding how Michael Griffin conducts himself – they don’t like it.
But rather than being held accountable he is supported in his misconduct. This statement from the Police Federation President Lt. Bob Kroll “We are pleased with the outcome of the jury’s verdict,” said Federation President Lt. Bob Kroll. “Officer Griffin has been vindicated and the truth rules the day. The city has a duty to stop their witch hunt of Officer Griffin after multiple internal affairs investigations and jury verdicts. We expect to see Officer Griffin back to work serving the community and the city to reimburse him for his legal expenses.” (Mayerle, 2016)

In the Anderson lawsuit, according to the jury, kicking a suspect in the head after other officers already had him pinned on the ground was OK. What was the jury telling us? A street cop is not going to risk reporting or intervening in other officers’ actions unless they believe, based on the actions of their supervisors and department leaders, that they will be backed up and there will be no retaliation from other cops. In the Jason Anderson case there were numerous comments by Minneapolis cops on police social websites that the Crystal Police Department would no longer get any backup from Minneapolis cops.

In case you think this is an isolated instance of police retaliation I had a garage burglary where my son’s racing bikes were stolen. The loss was several thousand dollars. I couldn’t even get a phone call or an answer to my emails from the investigators involved. When that lack of response came up in an online discussion recently Lt. Bob Kroll posted this on a police website, twelve years after I published the first edition of this book.

Mike Quinn you likely didn't get a call back on your garage burglary by intent because you are the most reputable RAT the MPD has ever had. Go write another fiction worst seller on dirty Minneapolis Cops. I'm not a fan of yours either. Any time you want to meet to solve our differences I'm game. Coward. (Kroll, 2016)

Based on the lack of accountability by the administration and the support of the police federation demonstrated in the cases I’ve listed it would be career suicide to intervene in another cop’s misconduct in Minneapolis. The policy becomes a moot point - a smokescreen imitation of leadership.

Next question - why are only sworn officers identified in the policy? Don’t non-sworn persons have the right and responsibility to step up when they know that something being done by a sworn officer is wrong or unethical? In the beating death of Jesse Lee Williams in 2006 by deputies of the Harrison County, Mississippi Sheriff’s Office it was the jail nurse that brought the first complaint. (Balko, 2006)

What happens when a civilian employee becomes aware of a false arrest, brutality or tainted evidence? Shouldn’t they have permission to come forward without fear of retaliation? When you have cops like Barze and Griffin being supported by other cops and not being held accountable by management it could mean the end of a citizen’s career to intervene or report them. If Peer Intervention is the goal you don’t do it with a poorly worded policy that says sworn officers must intervene in cases of excessive force; that’s the law. Policies like this one, that misrepresent the law, cause more harm than good.

Peer Intervention is summed up in the International Ethics and Leadership Training Bureau Oath: I promise that I will always have the courage to stand by you and for you. I promise that I will never, through action or inaction, allow any act that dishonors you, your family, or the badge. I ask only that you promise to do the same for me.

It is also a fundamental principle of the Law Enforcement Oath of Honor: On my honor, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always uphold the constitution, my community and the agency I serve.

Peer intervention is more than just the promise. It is an oath that says: Across all ranks and assignments - I promise to intervene when I see conduct that violates your oath of office or conduct that endangers your well-being or the well-being of your family or career and I give you permission to intervene when you think my conduct violates my oath of office or is endangering the well-being of myself, my family or my career.

Peer intervention, like all officer survival training, requires training. Everyone in the agency has to understand why and how to implement peer intervention. They have to practice it with hands on role play and say the words “Stop, I got this” or “Time Out, I’ll talk to them” or sometimes it’s as simple as saying “That’s enough.”

The policy implications in peer intervention are critically important. Are officers required to report all interventions? If an officer intervenes in a use of force situation, and it prevents the misuse of force, is that a reportable offense? What if the intervention occurs during a misuse of force but the intervention is successful and the officer complies with the intervention? Is that a reportable offense? Will the officer’s willingness to accept the intervention be a mitigating factor if there is a complaint? What if an officer refuses to allow an intervention? Who reports what? Does a recruit have the authority to intervene with their field training officer or a superior officer? And these are just some of the obvious questions cops have when you implement a peer intervention program regarding use of force or policy violations.

Some of these issues will be easier when everyone has a body camera. When you know it’s already a recorded event it becomes easier to come forward and tell the truth. But a camera only faces in one direction at a time and it will not, as we have seen already in Minneapolis, record everything you might want to see later.

If you really want to stop excessive force, hold officers accountable. Minneapolis should look to this New Orleans example for guidance:
Three New Orleans police officers were fired Wednesday (June 15), and a fourth suspended, for their roles in a September 2015 incident in which a handcuffed man was hit several times while seated inside the department's French Quarter station.

Officer Alfred Moran's body-worn camera showed him using his hands to strike the man, who had been arrested for public intoxication shortly before midnight on Sept. 30, NOPD said. The man was sitting on a bench inside the 8th District station on Royal Street at the time, and had argued with Moran prior to the incident.

Three other officers – Lewis Simmons, Christopher Jennings and Jeffery Tyler –witnessed their colleague's use of force, NOPD said, but none of them reported the incident to supervisors, as required by department policy. The incident came to light the following day during a supervisor's routine review of body-worn camera footage, said NOPD spokesman Tyler Gamble.

NOPD's Public Integrity Bureau launched criminal and administrative investigations. But Moran, Simmons and Jennings were "untruthful" during the investigation, Gamble said. Tyler, meanwhile, answered honestly when questioned.

The handcuffed man did not require hospitalization, Gamble said, and the department's internal investigation, along with a consultation with the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office, did not find enough evidence to pursue criminal charges against any of the officers.

Moran, Simmons and Jennings were each fired after Wednesday's disciplinary hearing, while Tyler received a five-day unpaid suspension. All four officers have 30 days to appeal the decision.

"I expect our officers to follow the law, to follow our policies and our training and to be honest," NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said in a release announcing the disciplinary actions. "Today's decision demonstrates that the NOPD is committed to ethical and constitutional policing and that we will not tolerate anything less." (Bullington, 2016)

Finally, peer intervention is not just about intervening in the use of force or policy violations. The oath also means that we are “Our Brothers and Sisters Keeper.” When that officer that was always ready for roll call, that always had a neat and clean uniform, and never had any complaints about attitude or language, starts to slide in late for roll call in a dirty uniform and is having trouble seeing a reason for the job – it’s Peer Intervention time.

This also means that the department’s peer support group and crisis intervention team officers should be some of the first ones trained in peer intervention. They are typically in those roles because they understand the need to support other cops in more ways than just taking the Holy Jack of Daniels Oath at the bar. Peer Intervention is about officer survival. Survival of a cop’s career, their family and their freedom. It is about preventing problems and it works in any organization where the bottom line is safe and ethical behavior when everyone in the organization participates. The community understands when a cop makes a mistake or when a bad cop has to be fired. What they do not understand is when a cop is doing something unethical and other cops do nothing to stop them. That is what really destroys community relations and impairs the legitimacy of a police department.
The Minneapolis Police Department’s ongoing attempts to manage by policy, absent accountability, is bad policy and we are paying the price.

Michael W. Quinn
CEO- International Ethics and Leadership Training Bureau, LLC.
Minneapolis, MN 55410
(612) 402 -8829

Balko, R. (2006, August). Jesse Lee Williams Jr. Retrieved from The Agitator:
Balko, R. (2014, October 1). U.S. Cities pay out millions. Retrieved from
Bullington, J. (2016, June 15). NOPD fires three officers. Retrieved from Times Picayune :
Chevron's Stop Work Authority. (2016). Retrieved from
Furst, R. (2013, August 28). No Minneapolis cops have been disciplined after 439 complaints. Retrieved from StarTribune :
Hanners, D. (2015, November 12). Minneapolis officer indicted. Retrieved from
Jany, L. (2016, April 28). City of Minneapolis settles in brutality lawsuit against officer. Retrieved from StarTribune:
Kroll, B. (2016, March 6). Bob Kroll commented on Marie Przynski's post in Minnesota- Land of 10,000 COPS. Retrieved from Land of 10,000 Cops. .
Mayerle, J. (2016, April 19). Partial Verdict Reached . Retrieved from CBS Minnesota:
McKinney, M. (2015, May 15). A Minneapolis police officer whose two excessive force lawsuits have cost the city $410,000 has had 19 complaints filed against him since he started in 2007, six of them last year. Retrieved from
Melby, T. (2016, March 30). Black voices. Retrieved from
National Police Misconduct Reporting Project. (2015). Retrieved from Cato Institute:
Reeves, B. A. (2011, July). Census of state and local law enforcement agencies, 2008. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics:
Williams, B. (2014, April 11). Minneapolis police brutality lawsuits renew civilian questions about force discipline. Retrieved from

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My response to "A blueprint for better policing in Minnesota" MinnPost.
Let me start by saying that I respect both of the authors of this article and their goal of trying to improve policing in Minnesota. My comments are not a criticism of them. Their ideas are the result, in my opinion, of their lack of experience in law enforcement. This is not to say that they don’t understand the criminal justice system. I know they do, but they are missing the experience that comes from working in a squad car. The authors call this paper a blueprint. This is not a blueprint; if it was it would have concrete actionable items, which it does not. It is what many academics, politicians, activists, and community members are buying into without knowing the ins and outs of what they are proposing. It is done in most cases with all good intentions, but it is not a workable blueprint.
Our police executives are writing and proposing much the same thing. At a recent conference of the Police Executive Research Forum police executives from across the country got together to discuss what needs to be done to improve police community relations. Their answer? Our cops have to be more respectful of the people. With that ethereal notion in mind PERF should have turned to Chief Todd Axtell of St. Paul Police Department and Chief Michael Harrison of the New Orleans Police Department and said: “How do we make that happen?” But they didn’t. And therein lies the problem. How do we make that happen? I don’t have all the answers, but with that in mind, I would like to address some of the issues brought up in the recent article, A Blutteprint for Better Policing in Minnesota.
With regard to police instructors: There is no question that there are active duty and retired cops that should not be police instructors. They can be identified by their emphasis on “shoot first, ask questions later” attitude, enforcement of the law because the law is the law, and their unwillingness to embrace the community as full partners in the system. But, eliminating retired cops from teaching law enforcement classes is akin to eliminating retired M.D.s from teaching medicine. The authors appear to base this idea on the assumption that cops are only capable of a warrior mentality, and that is not true. First of all, retired cops are usually better instructors because they have had the time to reflect on their training and experience over the years and reconnect with their communities in ways that were not possible when they were caught up in the everyday business of policing. They tend to bring a more balanced and mature approach to the table.
Second, it is wrong to assume that we are strictly guardians and not warriors. This analogy has been used a lot lately and it implies many of the wrong ideas. First, cops do have a role as guardians. By way of examples: We patrol areas to show our presence and availability to the community. We issue traffic citations in order to remind people of the dangers inherent in violating traffic laws. We respond to domestics in order to help men and women get the help they need to either get out of their current situation or get help to resolve their differences.
In terms of guarding communities, we cannot and never will be able to protect everyone. We respond to tragedy; we can seldom prevent it. We don’t have control over poverty, the educational system or employment opportunities for people of color. We know these are huge factors in the criminal justice system; but we have no influence or control of them.
We respond to death scenes, many of them tragic. We must attempt to be consolers when we are asked questions that can only be answered by God.
If you want a warrior/guardian analogy use Colonel Dave Grossman’s: We are the sheepdogs: directing, guiding, protecting, and serving – but able and willing to put it all on the line when the wolves attack. And when that attack comes we are warriors, laying down our lives if necessary so that others may live.
Next: I like the idea of a four-year degree because those officers have a little more life experience and often are more “culturally competent”. I led the training of over 300 officers in the Minneapolis police academy and I can tell you that the maturity shown by older recruits was a huge benefit to them, and to the citizens of Minneapolis. Less testosterone based decision making and more reflection on their role in policing were evident in role plays and training. I would strongly recommend that an agency only hires men and women over 25 years of age. But mandating a four-year degree for entry into a peace officer training program only works when the pool of candidates is big enough to support it, and if you want to eliminate a lot of people of color a required 4-year degree would help to do that.
Also, a four-year degree does not, by itself, imply that they will be a good cop. Some of the best street cops I knew, trained, supervised, or otherwise worked with, would probably not be good candidates for the dean’s list at a four-year university. But if you knew them, they would be the first people you would want showing up when your life is in chaos and you need a police officer. We don’t need “elite college graduates”, we need people who want to serve their community.
I don’t know what the authors mean by a “rigorous academy” but I do know that at its core it must be about taking officers to new levels of skills and abilities with positive motivation. The old military model is not only obsolete; it is a disaster for the community.
As the former Deputy Director of the Police Corps Program, a federally funded program that was supposed to teach community leadership along with police skills I can attest to the fact that recruiting liberal arts and STEM graduates to be cops is difficult at best, and in today’s climate is probably even harder. Cultural competency from a liberal arts education is extremely desirable and those recruits who have even a basic appreciation and understanding of other cultures are ahead of the game in terms of communication skills on the job. STEM graduates, business degree grads, law degrees, etc., are all sought after by police chiefs because of the contributions they are prepared to make. Salaries, community animosity toward cops, and lack of promotional opportunities in smaller agencies are, and always will be, huge barriers to hiring these potential leaders.
Next: A single state police academy might work if we used the model I worked with in a program called POCOP. Police agencies would hire the persons that they want based on background, education, testing, etc. The agency would make the job offer and the recruit would draw a starting salary when the academy starts. Full salary and employment would be contingent on passing the academy. The academy would provide the core law enforcement classes and skills training required by the POST Board to anyone who meets at least the minimum education and/or background to be a licensed peace officer in Minnesota. The downside to this is that we would have to dismantle an educational system that provides training across the state. A person trained in law enforcement or criminal justice may or may not end up in a peace officer’s job, but the education in the criminal justice system will be valuable to them in whatever career they follow. We don’t criticize students who pursue degrees in political science, art history, or law even though we know that many of them will never find a career in those fields. Why would we criticize law enforcement and criminal justice students or the schools that train them?
With respect to the academy idea, unless things have changed drastically, I would never collocate the course with the State Patrol. As the Deputy Director of the Police Corps program working under the auspices of the State Patrol it was my experience that their idea of training peace officers is anathema to what real community policing is supposed to be. The constant screaming, degrading (right up until graduation day), and focus on beating people down mentally and physically was one of the reasons I left the program in 2002.
As far as location goes, if you want candidates who reflect your community you must put the academy central to the Twin Cities where people have access to it. The St. Paul Police and Chief Axtell truly understand what a community cop should be and they would be a great resource and venue for any program. Also, transportation will be a critical factor for new recruits. Putting the academy out and away from public transportation and making it residential will eliminate many of very candidates every department is trying to hire. Once again it would make it harder for that person living in hard circumstances to be part of the program.
Next: As for funding, agencies are already paying for the background checks, psychological exams, testing, recruiting, and marketing of their agency. State funding could provide funds for the training but it might make more sense to just make the academy an affordable, not-for-profit organization led by an experienced law enforcement trainer working with a civilian from the twin cities community. Chief Stamper’s comments on MPR the other day were wonderful and his thought, to paraphrase, that we will know community policing when we see police commanders and civilians in equal roles in a police department was perfect.
Next: I take offense, and I am pretty sure the law enforcement training community will justifiably take offense, to the implication that they “Breeze Over” some of the critical aspects of police training. I am not sure what the “other stuff” is that the authors are talking about. The argument is often made that police training emphasizes firearms and deadly force training by dedicating many more hours to those skills than it does to communication skills or de-escalation techniques. You cannot compare the many hours it takes to make someone proficient in the use of firearms and deadly force with the training in communications, de-escalation techniques or implicit bias. They are different skill sets requiring different kinds of training. Should we devote more time to communication skills? Absolutely, but once again I go back to my experience and I can say that the majority of poor communication skills are introduced by bad trainers outside of, and in violation of, curriculum or training policy.
Are we too militarized? Yes, but not in the way you probably think. From time to time we are armed warriors with the tools, military and otherwise, that we need to get the job done. As peace officers, we need those tools that at the very least match the weapons and tactics of our worst adversaries; witness Dallas, Texas. The attitude that can come with the use of those tools is the problem. We are not the military. We are citizens working with other citizens to provide a safe environment for all. When we take on the attitude of soldiers occupying an area, based on our equipment, uniforms, and biases against people who are “not us” we become armed combatants with the attitude to match. As human beings we are all capable of acting in truly horrific ways toward each other. Dr. Ervin Staub’s work documents over and over again what savagery is possible. The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence.
Because we are also not sheep. There are times when we must be able to call upon that savagery in a controlled manner. Witness Flight 93 on 9/11. Citizens, when the need arose, became warriors willing to risk it all to save others knowing that it probably meant their own death. This was a homicidal/suicidal act that would be unimaginable, even to the actors, under other circumstances but it is a necessarily accessible component of a peace officer’s makeup. The community and peace officers, depend on that warrior spirit to come alive when needed to do the things most citizens cannot or will not do. Learning to use that terrible power requires hours and hours of hands on training lest it be used the wrong way, so we do.
Next: I have written over and over again about police accountability and the militarization of police tactics. I too want a police department that does not look and act like the military. However, it is clear from recent events that unless you are willing, as a community, to call in the army or national guard when we have events like Dallas, and all the other mass shootings and attacks on innocent civilians, you must prepare police officers to work with and use military equipment to end those events. I don’t like that we have gotten to this point but I am not going to pretend that we haven’t. What we must eliminate is the attitude that goes with the military style uniforms and equipment. There is a certain amount of pride in what we do and we must fight to not let it become hubris when we put on that uniform. I am guessing that the first uniformed police officers dealt with the same problem, going from civilian clothes to a uniform.
Finally: Many police trainers will say “We are the law.” When taken out of context that comment sounds terrible, and scary. But what is meant by most trainers is this: Peace officers have incredible control over people’s lives in the exercise of enforcing the law. As peace officers we have a moral responsibility to enforce the law fairly. That means recognizing that every decision made by a peace officer with respect to enforcement is a moral decision. Not everyone should be arrested for an act that violates the letter of the law. Not everyone needs to go to jail. The poor teenage dad with a beater car that hasn’t renewed his plates because he can’t afford to do that and feed his wife and child this month does not need a citation and his vehicle towed; even if the law says you should. He needs access to resources to help him make good decisions about how to survive. We are the law and with that power comes the responsibility to enforce it fairly, justly, and with compassion. Most importantly, everyone needs to be treated with respect. I have taught in police training and I have written and lectured across the country since my book was published that the disrespectful acts that one officer may get away with will at some time come back in the form of anger and violence toward another officer. We don’t want to admit that the horrendous acts committed in Dallas and now Baton Rouge are, in part, a response to the constant barrage on the web and in social media of real police misconduct. But its true.
My recent experience with body cameras and working for many months with the New Orleans Police Department convinced me, and the vast majority of New Orleans cops, that body cameras are an essential part of police work. I love the idea of taking it to the next level with cameras facing backward and forward. I believe the law about body cameras in Minnesota is a disaster. Cops must be able to access footage before making their reports. Nobody, and I mean nobody, is able to write a completely accurate report of what occurred in a critical situation based solely on their memory. The body camera law in Minnesota is a trap for police officers and we will reap the rewards of that trap with increased litigation and accusations of lying in our reports.
New technology will hopefully give us more non-lethal tools but there will always be confrontational traffic stops, warrant arrests, people with killing on their minds, and though we are guardians by nature we must continue to be warriors when necessary in defense of ourselves, or more often – the community we serve.
I am my brothers and sisters keeper,
Michael W Quinn –

My background:
I am a retired Minneapolis Police Sergeant and CEO of The International Ethics and Leadership Training Bureau LLC. I have a BA degree in Training and Human Development with an emphasis in criminal justice. I am the author of Walking With the Devil: The Police Code of Silence. What bad cops don’t want you to know and good cops won’t tell you. A text being used in many colleges and universities around the country.
I served my country in the USAF from 1968-1975. I served the citizens of Minneapolis from 1975 to 1999 in a variety of assignments that included uniformed patrol as an officer and Supervisor, investigations, plain clothes and undercover work. I was an instructor in SWAT, Firearms, Deadly force, defensive tactics, and other specialty skills. I have been a police trainer since 1979.

I was the Deputy Director of Minnesota Police Corps Program, a Court Security Officer at the Minneapolis Federal Courthouse, and a Special Deputy U.S. Marshal contract guard.

I am a community faculty member of Metropolitan State University St. Paul, MN and Chairman of the Inver Hills Community College Law Enforcement Advisory Board in Inver Hills, MN.
I have lectured and taught on the subject of police ethics and accountability for police managers, street officers, civilian review investigators, and college classes across the United States and Canada. I have testified in federal court as an expert in police use of force and accountability.

I just completed a 4-year project working with the New Orleans Police Department, Department of Justice and the Federal Consent Decree Monitors to design and provide training in Peer Intervention and Active Bystandership as mandated by the consent decree. The training, known as “EPIC – Ethical Policing is Courageous,” is the first of its kind to address systemic problems in the police culture and is based on my “Peer Intervention for Law Enforcement” Class.

During my Minneapolis police career I supervised the Robbery Decoy Unit and co-supervised, with Greg Hestness, the Repeat Offender Program, in a coordinated effort with multiple departments and jurisdictions without any complaints of racist language or excessive force. I worked for over two years in Internal Affairs handling police misconduct complaints.
I supervised the Minneapolis Police Academy and in a consensus building style used citizen and police input to develop and implement new and innovative training for police officers.
I supervised the design and development of the federally sponsored Police Corps Academy under the auspices of the Department of Public Safety to include program design, curriculum development, facilities management, professional and technical services contracts and lesson delivery.
I served as coordinator of the Minneapolis Police Emergency Response Unit, responsible for hostage situations, barricaded suspects and special events requiring high security.

Following is a partial list of published articles. More information is available at my website htttp:// and

Remsberg, C. (1986). The Tactical Edge, Surviving High Risk Patrol. Quinn, M. (Acknowledged Contributor). P. 200-210. Northbrook, Il: Calibre Press.
Schwartz. P. (Producer). Quinn, M. (Technical Advisor). (1991). Deadly Force: Reasonable and Justified. [Video]. (Available from Illinois Law Enforcment Media Resource Center at Western Illinois University: Macomb, Il.)
Andress, M. (Producer). 2005. Harrington, J., Quinn, M., Rowley, C.(participants) Behind the Badge: Ethics in Policing. Interviews with current and former law enforcement officials, this program examines ethical issues in law enforcement. It also addresses ethical considerations common to all professions. ETS Productions, St.Paul, Mn.
Willet, M. & Quinn, M. (1991). Deadly Force: Reasonable and Justified. Ttraining guide to accompany video Deadly Force: Reasonable and Justified. (Available from Illinois Law Enforcment Media Resource Center at Western Illinois University: Macomb, Il..)
Quinn, M. (2005, 2011). Walking With the Devil:The Police Code of Silence. Minneapolis:Quinn and Associates. Second Edition.
Quinn, M. (2006). We Are Cops. We Are Not Soldiers At War With The Community. Law Enforcement Executive Forum: Integrity. 6(4). 31-38.
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Peer Intervention
On January 29, 2016 the Police Executive Research Forum published: Use of Force: Taking Policing to a Higher Standard - 30 Guiding Principles. (PERF, 2016) There is a lot of online discussion about the force policies. I must admit I have no argument with any of the principles, in theory. It’s hard to be critical of a more reasoned approach when we have created the problem ourselves. With the unreasonable shootings and deadly force incidents documented in the social media how can we expect to be able to carry on as usual? Our loss of legitimacy is compounded daily by some of these events.
Now the Police Foundation has released an infographic on police use of force that does a very good job of outlining when coercive force is reasonable and legal. (Use of Force Infographic, 2016) However, it does not deal with the legal responsibilities of bystander officers. Are we afraid of that subject?
Policy item # 6 in the “PERF 30” shows the same reluctance. It reads: Duty to intervene: Officers need to prevent other officers from using excessive force. Officers should be obligated to intervene when they believe another officer is about to use excessive or unnecessary force, or when they witness colleagues using excessive or unnecessary force, or engaging in other misconduct. Agencies should also train officers to detect warning signs that another officer might be moving toward excessive or unnecessary force and to intervene before the situation escalates. (PERF, 2016)
This type of peer intervention policy is important but it does not go far enough. Agencies are losing officers to misconduct at a documented rate 100 times greater than the officers being lost to felonious assaults. (Cato Institute, 2015) There are many more undocumented losses of cops retiring or resigning while under investigation. The cost to agencies in legitimacy and dollars is astronomical. Peer Intervention offers police officers the opportunity to intervene, not just in those instances of excessive force, but in any instance where another officer’s actions or inactions puts them at risk of dishonoring themselves, their family or the badge. Peer Intervention must include “Permission” to all officers to intervene and allow the intervention.
Chevron has been using the permission model with great success and law enforcement can learn from it.
The Stop Work Authority pocket card encourages and enables every single worker at the refinery, regardless of rank or expertise, to stop any work if they believe that it is not being done safely.
All refinery workers must respect an exercise of Stop Work Authority when someone raises a safety concern. It has the full backing of the Richmond Refinery Management Team, and the pocket card issued to employees and contractors includes my signature. Employees are both encouraged and celebrated when they use their Stop Work Authority.
After the work is stopped or paused, a conversation about the concern follows. Next, the person in charge of the work is notified, and we involve the right people in reviewing the situation, sometimes even technical experts who can offer the best knowledge about the situation. (Kory Judd, 2015)
Chevron’s stop work authority gives every employee, from the janitor to the CEO, permission to protect other employees.
I have talked to officers across the U.S. and Canada. I always ask for officers to raise their hand if they have never done anything that could have cost them their job. I have seen one hand go up in 10 years. In that instance the other CLEOs in the room just rolled their eyes. Cops will make mistakes and sometimes they will deliberately break the law. In most cases other cops know about the conduct but decline to intervene. They decline because their training never included the idea of peer intervention or permission to intervene in another officer’s behavior, but it should.
The IELTB training has an oath that is based on the second sentence of the law enforcement oath. It reads:
I promise that I will always have the courage to stand by you and for you.
I promise that I will never allow, through action or inaction, any act that dishonors you, your family or the badge.
I ask that you promise to do the same for me.

With 30 years in law enforcement I understand when cops read the oath and say “Yeah, sure.” Then I ask them to do this simple exercise: Write a letter to the spouse and children of the officer who just went to prison for something you witnessed or were aware of and could have stopped. Tell them why you didn’t have the courage to protect that officer when they clearly needed your help. Sign your name to it and then imagine delivering it in person.

PERF and the POLICE FOUNDATION both need to step up and mandate Peer Intervention, in all its forms. We are our brother’s keeper and Peer Intervention is about Officer Survival. Survival of your career, your family and your freedom.

Michael W. Quinn
Managing Partner
International Ethics and Leadership Training Bureau, LLP
February 6, 2016
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Feel free to share this promo video on my class about police ethics
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What we wish every cop could be?
What we wish every cop could be?
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