Sheriff’s Office Contract for Policing
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to increasing public safety through leadership, integrity, and strong partnerships. Public safety is an important investment for all of us, so the Sheriff’s Office actively partners with local jurisdictions across the county and in cities. We work together to provide professional law enforcement and public safety services to all residents in all communities.
Most of the cities in Hennepin County have their own police departments, some operate within police department collaboratives and some have entered into contracts for policing services with the Sheriff’s Office.
Some cities recently have expressed an interest in exploring a Contract for Policing with the Sheriff’s Office; the information provided here is intended to describe the program generally.
The Sheriff’s Office already provides services to residents to enhance the services provided by local police departments.
While police departments regularly patrol their own cities, we assist with emergency calls for service (Sheriff's Patrol Units and Special Enforcement Response Team (SERT), provide investigation services in instances of violent or emergent crime. The Sheriff’s Office manages the Hennepin County Jail, patrols the lakes and waterways, answers calls for Crime Scene Forensic Sciences Services, and processes forensic evidence in partnership with local police departments. We provide K-9 Patrols, Crime Prevention Specialists and coordinate Mounted Patrol and Volunteer Units that serve across all 45 cities and unincorporated areas of the County. We provide 911 Dispatch Services for 24 law enforcement agencies and 20 fire departments. These services are provided to all residents, across all jurisdictions, and are paid for primarily through your Hennepin County Property Taxes.
The Sheriff’s Office has entered into Contracts for Policing in cities where their city Councils have chosen not to operate their own independent Police Department: Greenfield, Medicine Lake, and Hanover are examples. These cities have entered into agreements to pay the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office for primary policing and patrolling services in their community. The Sheriff’s Office works with each community to develop a customized Plan for Policing, which will vary substantially from one city to the next, depending on the number of residents, the density of population, the commercial-industrial to residential ratio, crime-rates and experience, and the particular goals of the community.
A contract for 8 hours per day of patrolling coverage is less expensive than a contract for 24 hours per day 7 days per week, and only the city can make a final decision about the level of coverage needed. However, the Sheriff’s Office Contracts for Policing are intended to pass along to each city only the additional and actual costs of providing the agreed upon services.
Benefits of Contract Policing
Providing management and oversight of an independent police department can be burdensome, especially in smaller communities. Contracting with the Sheriff’s Office can be less costly than maintaining a police department. A contract for services with the Sheriff’s Office includes services from our Enforcement Services Division, Crime Prevention Specialists, and Volunteer Units, but your community will also receive the following services, included in the hourly charges for coverage. These services are provided in support of law enforcement-related activities:
Contracts for Policing: Customized Levels of Service
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office will work directly with your community leaders to assist in determining the level of service that best meets your community’s need. This “policing plan” would be developed specifically for your community based on activity levels, population, and specific goals of the community. Service levels vary as follows:
- Basic emergency response. No dedicated patrol. Varying response times, limited Investigative or Special Operations resources.
- Part time. Basic emergency response augmented by dedicated patrol for specific limited time period. Increased investigative and special operations resources.
- Full time. Dedicated deputy(s) who work full time as your community’s uniformed law enforcement officers. Full service Investigative and Special Operations resources.
- Supplemental – D.A.R.E. and School Resource Officers or enhanced use of any particular resource for a specific crime reduction initiative, special event, or significant response.
What Part Does the Community Play?
In evaluating the service needs of the community, the elected officials need to consider both community and policing factors, including its Comprehensive Plan, number of lakes, parks, and trails, number of schools, and the cost of providing services, in addition to the number of residents, the density of population, the commercial-industrial to residential ratio, crime-rates and experience, and the particular goals of the community. Policing factors include the number of calls for service, response times, visibility in the community, traffic enforcement, and familiarity with local issues.
Once a decision is made on the level of services needed, the city also has a voice in how much local oversight is desired, as well as whether they want local identity in the services. Together a partnership is built resulting in a model of policing that responds to local public safety needs, addresses local concerns and reflects the character of the community. The final decision of what’s right for each community rests upon each individual community.
For more information, call the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office at 612-348-3744.