Ad Spot

As calls grow for police reform, officer licensing agency to audit practices

By Riham Feshir, Minnesota Public Radio News

The state agency that oversees licensing and standards for police officers is embarking on a comprehensive review of its policies that may lead to changes to licensing, complaint and discipline and pre-service training.

Erik Misselt, the interim director of the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training, said the POST board’s policies haven’t kept up with the public’s expectations for police accountability.

Unlike medical boards, the POST board cannot suspend an officer’s license based only on allegations. Misselt said he’d like to see the POST board go to the state Legislature and ask for changes in state laws to broaden its authority.

“When the board was created in 1979, it was created to address a very specific issue of training and recruitment, and over the years that was the very limited scope that it was intended to do,” he said. “It was very clear to the board that we have not kept up with expectations of the community — expectations of law enforcement even.”

Even before the killing of George Floyd set off a discussion on the need for police reform in Minnesota, the board was beginning a time of transition.

Gov. Tim Walz recently appointed several new people to the POST board and Misselt was also appointed earlier this year.

Now the agency is discussing what changes it can make to its complaint and discipline process that would hold more police officers accountable. It can currently investigate misconduct, but ultimately, license revocations only happen when an officer is convicted of a felony or gross misdemeanor.

The officer charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s killing has a history of complaints, but was never convicted of a felony. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin shot two people during his 19-year career and had nearly 20 complaints on his file.

Misselt said there is not one action that the POST board can take to eliminate deadly force encounters. But the board could ask lawmakers to broaden its authority.

“A great deal of our authority comes from an actual conviction for felony or gross misdemeanor,” Misselt said. “There are some other noncriminal issues that we can revoke licenses for but they are very limited, one example is sexual harassment.”

If Walz extends the state of emergency another 30 days, it will trigger an automatic special session on July 12, when the current 30-day period expires. Police reform could be part of it.

The International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement will begin a lengthy audit of the POST board’s policies and rule-making in July.

“We need to find out what the limits of our authority are, what we can and cannot do,” Misselt said. “One of the large debates going forward in terms of the role of the POST board is going to be — how deep does the POST board get involved and where does the POST board step in and do an investigation.”

Health Updates

Daily COVID-19 update: Hospitalizations rise statewide; 1 new case reported in Freeborn County

Elections & Campaigns

Voters get their chance to weigh in Tuesday in Minnesota’s primary

Gallery

Community remembers those affected by cancer in drive-thru Relay for Life

Cops, Courts & Fires

2 arrested for DWI and other reports

Health Updates

Daily COVID-19 update: 3 area counties report no new cases

News

Bikers descend on Sturgis rally with few signs of pandemic

Cops, Courts & Fires

Judge orders release of body camera video in Floyd case

News

Trump allows some unemployment pay, defers payroll tax

Health Updates

Daily COVID-19 update: State sees record daily number of new cases; 1 new case reported in Freeborn County

News

Albert Lea Y organizes a taste of fun fair food

Elections & Campaigns

What you need to know about the upcoming primary election

News

Dissolutions: July 2020

News

ACT extends pause on performances into 2021

News

Judge: Prosecutor will stay on ex-cop’s case in Floyd death

News

NAMI to screen documentary

Arts & Culture

Faith Lutheran youth confirmed

Arts & Culture

Man recovers from injuries from tornado

Albert Lea Tigers

‘Cannot wait to get started’

News

30 family members contract COVID-19 following funeral

Health Updates

Daily COVID-19 update: No new cases in Freeborn County for 3rd day in last week

Cops, Courts & Fires

Windows broken and other reports

Cops, Courts & Fires

Ex-cop’s lawyer wants prosecutor dropped from Floyd case

News

Virus aid talks on brink of collapse, sides ‘very far apart’

Cops, Courts & Fires

Albert Lea man arrested after reported drive-by shooting