The Minneapolis Park Police is the section of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) primarily responsible for law enforcement in the Minneapolis parks. The current authorized strength includes:
- Thirty-three sworn peace officers
- Approximately 23 non-sworn seasonal Park Patrol Agents
- Two full-time clerical employees
Park Police investigate crimes that occur in parks that would otherwise be handled by Minneapolis Juvenile Division (except homicides), Precinct Property Crimes, and the Sex Crimes Unit (e.g. indecent exposure). The authority for the Park Police is found in the Minneapolis City Charter.
The Minneapolis Park Police serve under the direction of the Superintendent of Parks, who is appointed by the Park Board. The Park Police section is part of the Administration Division of the MPRB.
Park Police Director
The Park Police Director is the chief law enforcement officer and commander of the Park Police. The Director is responsible for the overall operation of the department, including the hiring and promotion of staff and the preparation and management of the annual budget.
Park Police Lieutenants
The Park Police Lieutenants are second in command of the department and are in charge in the Director's absence. One Lieutenant supervises the Park Safety Unit, which is a combination investigative unit, crime prevention unit, administrative services and special programs unit. The other Lieutenant oversees the Patrol Unit.
Five Patrol Sergeants answer to the Patrol Lieutenant. They are responsible for supervising the daily patrol activities as shift supervisors. The early shift starts at 6:30 AM each day, and the evening shift ends at midnight (later during the summer.) There is no "dog watch," and calls to parks after midnight are handled by Minneapolis Police patrols.
The Patrol Sergeants are also responsible for general supervision of their team area, communicating with officers and agents assigned to their team, attending meetings, responding to particular problems in the parks in their teams, and directing the patrol patterns for the team.
Also within the patrol function are the officers assigned to directed patrol. Working under the supervision of one of the patrol supervisors, these officers concentrate on specific problems and problem areas, providing extra patrol, both visible and undercover, where most needed. The Patrol units use various vehicles such as squad cars, pickup trucks, bicycles and a snowmobile. The mounted patrol team use horses to patrol the parks and city on horseback.
Park Patrol Agents
Park Patrol agents are non-sworn, seasonal employees who work in uniform in the parks. Their duties include general patrol of the park system, particularly of the regional system (lakes and parkways) during the summer months - as well as parking enforcement, mountain bike patrol, park and pool foot beats, administrative tasks, and staffing the station desk.