About the Minneapolis Police Department


In 1867 H.H. Brackett, Minneapolis’s first police chief, was appointed by Mayor Darilus Morrison.  At the time 5000 people lived in Minneapolis.

The Police Department's duties and responsibilities changed as the city grew. By 1889, 200 officers patrolled the city of 200,000 residents. The city was patrolled mostly by foot beats. Officers patrolled outlying areas on horses. A captain or sergeant was required to stay at the City Hall desk to monitor the new  telephone.

By the beginning of the 20th century the city population grew to 300,000. In 1909 police officers used motorcycles to patrol the city. Fingerprinting of criminals was introduced. Phones became more common.

During the Great Depression of the 1930's the Police Department was involved in ending labor disputes and battling gangsters. The years during World War II saw 117 MPD officers fight for the United States armed forces.

The 1950's brought population growth, stability and prosperity. The city's population increased to over 500,000 in 1950 with nearly 600 sworn officers. The "Drunkometer," forerunner of today's intoxilyzer, was first used in 1952.

The 1960's brought change, turmoil and reform. Major riots along Plymouth Avenue resulted in the creation of the Community Relations Division and the Model Cities Precinct in 1970. The 1970's saw increased reliance on federal grants and the first use of mobile digital technology (MDT's) in squad cars.

The 1980's and 1990's saw community-oriented policing evolve from an effort to get closer to the community through the Community Crime Prevention/SAFE Unit.  

Last updated Mar 19, 2019



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