Services for other law enforcement

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.

Our services to other communities include contract policing, forensic services and transport services from one jurisdiction to another.

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Sheriff's office duties 

  • Assists with emergency calls for service and provides investigation services in instances of violent or emergent crime
  • Manages the Hennepin County Jail
  • Patrols the lakes and waterways
  • Answers calls for crime scene forensic sciences services
  • Processes forensic evidence in partnership with local police departments
  • Provides K-9 patrols and crime prevention specialists
  • Coordinates mounted patrol and volunteer units that serve across all 45 cities and unincorporated areas of the county
  • Provides 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.

How it works

In some cases, a city council may choose not to operate their own independent police department. 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 takes into account that community's population density, crime rates and safety goals.

Benefits

Cost

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. The city can make a final decision about the level of coverage needed. Contracts are intended to pass along to each city only the additional and actual costs of providing the agreed upon services.

Management

Providing management and oversight of an independent police department can be burdensome, especially in smaller communities.  A contract with the sheriff's office includes services from our enforcement services, crime prevention specialists and volunteer units.as well as other services, included in the hourly charges for coverage, that support law-enforcement activities.

Personnel considerations

Contract policing can ease the burden on personnel for a range of issues including:

  • Hiring/firing
  • Scheduling and performance evaluations
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Labor/contract negotiations
  • Internal affairs issues
  • Citizen complaints

Vehicles

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office is responsible for:

  • The purchase and maintenance of squads and vehicle
  • Equipment purchase and maintenance
  • Insurance, repairs and fuel

Service coordination

The office can also fill roles such as these for your community:

  • Public information officer
  • County Attorney services
  • Courts/jail/civil process/warrants
  • Emergency management

Levels of services

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

  • School resource officers or
  • Enhanced use of any particular resource for a specific crime reduction initiative, special event, or significant response

Community involvement

In evaluating the service needs of the community, the elected officials need to consider both community and policing factors, including:

  • The city's comprehensive plan
  • Number of lakes, parks, and trails
  • Number of schools
  • Cost of providing services

in addition, city councils must take into account:

  • Number of residents
  • Density of population
  • Commercial-industrial to residential ratio
  • Crime-rates and experience
  • Particular goals of the community. 

Policing factors include:

  • Number of calls for service
  • Response times
  • Visibility in the community
  • Traffic enforcement
  • Familiarity with local issues

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.

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Forensic Science Laboratory was formed in the early 1960’s. Within Hennepin County, the laboratory provides forensic services to over 35 suburban law enforcement agencies, the Minnesota State Patrol, and a number of federal law enforcement agencies.

The Laboratory is an internationally accredited ANAB ISO/IEC: 17025 testing laboratory serving in the following specialized areas of forensic analysis: Serology and DNA, Latent Print and Firearm examination.

Service requests 

Select the appropriate service and provide the completed form to the Forensic Science Laboratory.

Specialized areas

Biology/DNA

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Forensic Science Laboratory is one of only four forensic science laboratories in Minnesota that provide forensic DNA testing and participates in the FBI Combined DNA Index System - CODIS. CODIS allows the laboratory to compare biological evidence recovered at crime scenes to a database of DNA profiles that include the following:

  • Individuals convicted of a crime
  • Profiles developed from crime scene evidence such as semen stain or blood
  • Arrested persons (if state law permits the collection of arrestee samples)
  • Missing persons
  • Unidentified human remains
  • Profiles voluntarily contributed from relatives of missing persons

If certain upload criteria are met, CODIS database searches can be done on a local (LDIS), state (SDIS), or national level (NDIS). 

Crime Scene

Primary duties of this section include providing 24/7/365 crime scene processing services to the sheriff’s office, suburban Hennepin County law enforcement agencies, the Minnesota State Patrol, and a number of federal law enforcement agencies.  

The CSIs assigned to the section are responsible for locating, collecting, and packaging evidence at crime scenes; photographing crime and accident scenes; and measuring, sketching and completing diagrams of crime scenes. CSIs also receive specialized training in bloodstain pattern analysis, ballistic trajectory analysis, and forensic mapping and 360 imaging. 

Evidence

Evidence specialists are responsible for the intake, secure storage, and disposal of evidence received by the laboratory.

The laboratory accepts evidence submissions Monday through Friday. Agencies must call ahead for submission appointments. This assists the staff in expediting the intake process and minimize wait times for other customers.

Firearm

The primary responsibilities of the section include firearm examination and serial number restoration, and NIBIN entry. 

Firearm Examination: Firearm identification is a discipline of forensic science, with its primary concern being to determine if a bullet, cartridge case or other ammunition component was fired by a particular firearm. Bullets and cartridge cases recovered at crime scenes can be compared to known samples of bullets and cartridge cases test fired from recovered firearms submitted to the laboratory using a Comparison Microscope.  The Comparison Microscope allows an examiner to view both the evidence and known samples together via a split screen at the same time.

Serial Number Restoration: Serial numbers that are obliterated may be restored through a wide array of forensic techniques typically involving the application of various chemicals to the obliterated area.

NIBIN Entry: Images of fired cartridge cases from a crime scene or from recovered firearms that our test fired by our staff are entered into the Integrated Ballistic Identification system (IBIS). These discharged cartridge case images are correlated in the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) and a search for possible links (similarly marked cases) to images of previously recovered evidence is available for comparison. The use of NIBIN allows us to provide potential leads to those investigating gun crimes.

Latent print

The section's duties include the recovery of latent prints from items of evidence submitted for processing and the comparison and identification of latent prints to known persons.

The Forensic Science Laboratory participates in Midwest Automated Fingerprint Identification Network (MAFIN), a shared regional database of fingerprints from South Dakota, Minnesota, and North Dakota. MAFIN allows the laboratory to compare fingerprint evidence recovered from crime scenes to a database of known fingerprints and palm prints.

The Latent Print Section uses a Motorola Printrak Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) terminal to link to MAFIN.  This enables a speedy comparison of fingerprints and detects matching records under alias names for all fingerprint records among the three states.  The MAFIN database also contains unknown latent prints left at crime scenes.  As new fingerprint records are added to the system, they are automatically searched against these unidentified prints.

The transport unit is part of the sheriff's office enforcement services division, which is headquartered in Brooklyn Park, MN.

The unit is charged with transporting people under the jurisdiction of the county and state, including inmates bound for hearings in outer division courthouses, convicted inmates bound for correctional facilities, and mental health patients bound for court hearings or being transferred from various treatment facilities.

In a typical year, the transport unit logs approximately 330,000 miles by safely transporting more than 12,000 inmates and mental health patients pursuant to court orders. Annually, the unit serves nearly 1,000 court-ordered summonses and completes 1,200+ writ transports (court-ordered appearances for prisoners held at Department of Corrections facilities).

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