Have the two cities already committed to an agreement?
No. Falcon Heights City Administrator Jack Linehan and St. Anthony Village City Manager Charlie Yunker, along with the mayors of both cities, have had preliminary conversations to see if there is mutual interest in discussing a possible agreement.
The joint workshop between the two City Councils is an opportunity to begin formally discussing what a partnership may look like and provide staff direction on next steps, including community engagement.
Why did St. Anthony Village and Falcon Heights terminate the previous relationship?
St. Anthony Village previously provided contract law enforcement services for Falcon Heights from 1994 to 2017. The St. Anthony Village City Council voted to terminate the contract in 2017 as both cities evaluated the partnership following the killing of Philando Castile by a St. Anthony Village police officer during a July 2016 traffic stop. The Falcon Heights City Council agreed to the termination.
How will liability be addressed?
Shared liability will likely be a consideration in a future contract. Standard practices in contracted law enforcement services continue to evolve, and it’s no longer expected that liability will rest solely with the contracted department. In Falcon Heights’ 2024 contract with the RCSO, the City provides general and professional liability coverage starting April 1, 2024, up to the City’s insurance limits of $4 million.
This trend is being seen throughout the state, with other recent partnerships – such as the City of Golden Valley / Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office – require the municipality to provide liability coverage. The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust provides liability coverage for both the City of Falcon Heights and the City of St. Anthony Village and will be consulted on any matters of shared indemnification.
What will accountability look like?
Transparency and accountability are ingrained in the culture of the St. Anthony Police Department (SAPD). The department’s Strategic Plan highlights the commitment to accountability and a continual evaluation of the accountability processes. The SAPD has an updated complaint and commendation reporting process, which is available online and is reflected in policy. All officers are trained on the policy. All concerns are thoroughly investigated, recorded in the Records Management System, and all formal complaints are additionally recorded with the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training (MN POST Board), along with the final outcome of the investigation.
All SAPD officers wear a Body Worn Camera (BWC), which records nearly all encounters with the public. These cameras work seamlessly with squad mounted cameras and all SAPD facility cameras. In addition, the SAPD developed an internal compliance system to ensure:
- All officers are using the BWC according to policy
- Officers’ actions are professional and according to policy
- All equipment is working properly.
In 2023, officers were 99% compliant. The quality of SAPD’s internal compliance program has been recognized nationally with invitations to present best practices at the Center for Naval Analysis and the Department of Justice’s National Body Worn Camera Conference.
The department reports annually on all use-of-force incidents and on all traffic stops.
Will there be reporting available specific to Falcon Heights?
Yes, consistent with the reporting made available to the St. Anthony and Lauderdale communities. This includes:
- An annual use of force report
- A record of officer training hours and their adherence with MN POST Board requirements.
- A public record of officer complaints on MN POST Board website.
- Annual traffic report.