POST Board Approves Model Sexual Assault Investigation Policy

The policy is not required; however, legislation to make it a mandatory policy for all law enforcement agencies in Minnesota is pending.
(Published Feb 4, 2019)

The Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board approved a model Sexual Assault Investigation Policy on Jan. 24.

The model policy was developed over recent months by the POST Board’s Standards Committee in the wake of a series of articles about botched rape and sexual assault investigations published in the Star Tribune. The series identified inconsistencies between agencies’ interactions with victims and their investigation practices. The nine articles illustrated patterns of inappropriate responses by investigators to victims of rape and sexual assault, as well as inadequate efforts by some agencies to solve and prosecute rape and sexual assault cases.

—View the model policy (doc)

Goals of policy

The model policy is aimed at providing law enforcement employees with guidelines for responding to reports of sexual assault. It identifies the following goals:

  • To afford maximum protection and support to victims of sexual assault or abuse through a coordinated program of law enforcement and available victim services with an emphasis on a victim centered approach.
  • To reaffirm peace officers’ authority and responsibility to conducting thorough preliminary and follow-up investigations and to make arrest decisions in accordance with established probable cause standards.
  • To increase the opportunity for prosecution and victim services.

Not mandatory—yet

The policy is not mandatory; however, the POST Board voted to recommend legislation that would make it a required policy for all law enforcement agencies in the state. The POST Board has passed 17 other model policies ranging from “Use of Force” to “Professional Conduct of Officers” that have been codified into Minnesota rules or statutes.

The bill to make the policy mandatory has already been introduced in both the House and Senate. SF 513 is authored by Sen. Matt Little (DFL-Lakeville), and the House version is HF 327, authored by Rep. Kelly Moller (DFL-Shoreview).

The House version of the bill was heard on Jan. 31 in the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Division and was laid over for possible inclusion in an omnibus bill. The Senate version has not been scheduled for a hearing in the Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee, where it was referred upon introduction, but Chair Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove) has publicly indicated an interest in the bill.

Model policy available

The model policy is available in Word and PDF formats on the POST Board website. In early February, it will also be provided via email to every chief law enforcement officer in Minnesota.

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