The Special Operations Unit (SOU) provides operational support to the Sheriff's Office as well as local, state, and federal law enforcement partners by coordinating planning and operations for special events and initiatives involving Sheriff's Office resources. The SOU oversees five teams and units.
In 2012, the SOU coordinated proactive patrols known as SafeZone in downtown Minneapolis. In partnership with several law enforcement agencies, Sheriff's Office deputies walked the downtown beat in a proactive, high-profile effort to prevent crime and respond to public safety issues during the summer months. Due to increased public safety issues, the Sheriff's Office significantly increased its participation by doubling the number of deputies working the detail and increasing the number of weeks and hours for SafeZone patrol work.
Emergency Management Team:
The Emergency Management Team provides the Sheriff's Office, as well as local law enforcement agencies with personnel and equipment to support emergency management functions at events such as natural disasters, law enforcement incidents, and large community events.
Hennepin County Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Tactical Response Team:
The Sheriff's Office is the lead agency for the Hennepin County WMD Tactical Response Team. The team is trained and equipped to respond to incidents involving weapons of mass destruction or hazardous materials.
This team is composed of members from the following police departments: Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Eden Prairie, Golden Valley, Maple Grove, Metro Transit, Mound, Mounds View, Plymouth, St. Anthony, Ramsey County Sheriff's Office, and the Minnesota State Patrol.
Emergency Services Unit:
The Emergency Services Unit (ESU) responds to situations including hostage rescue, barricaded suspects, and high-risk warrant service. The team utilizes special training and equipment with the goal of achieving peaceful resolutions to dangerous situations.
Special Response Force:
The Special Response Force provides the Sheriff's Office and local law enforcement agencies with personnel and equipment to support law-enforcement operations at special events, demonstrations, and community celebrations where there is a potential for civil unrest or criminal activity.
Critical Infrastructure Protection Patrols:
The SOU coordinated an Urban Area Security Initiative grant to initiate a critical infrastructure protection patrol program. Under this program, deputies are assigned to provide high visibility patrols of critical infrastructure.