Saturday, February 6, 2016

PERF - The Police Foundation - and Peer Intervention

PERF -Police Foundation - and Peer Intervention

On January 29, 2016 the Police Executive Research Forum published: Use of Force: Taking Policing to a Higher Standard - 30 Guiding Principles. (PERF, 2016) There is a lot of online discussion about the force policies. I must admit I have no argument with any of the principles, in theory. It’s hard to be critical of a more reasoned approach when we have created the problem ourselves. With the unreasonable shootings and deadly force incidents documented in the social media how can we expect to be able to carry on as usual? Our loss of legitimacy is compounded daily by some of these events.

Now the Police Foundation has released an infographic on police use of force that does a very good job of outlining when coercive force is reasonable and legal. (Use of Force Infographic, 2016) However, it does not deal with the legal responsibilities of bystander officers. Are we afraid of that subject?

Policy item # 6 in the “PERF 30” shows the same reluctance. It reads: Duty to intervene:  Officers need to prevent other officers from using excessive force.  Officers should be obligated to intervene when they believe another officer is about to use excessive or unnecessary force, or when they witness colleagues using excessive or unnecessary force, or engaging in other misconduct. Agencies should also train officers to detect warning signs that another officer might be moving toward excessive or unnecessary force and to intervene before the situation escalates. (PERF, 2016)

This type of peer intervention policy is important but it does not go far enough. Agencies are losing officers to misconduct at a documented rate 100 times greater than the officers being lost to felonious assaults. (Cato Institute, 2015) There are many more undocumented losses of cops retiring or resigning while under investigation. The cost to agencies in legitimacy and dollars is astronomical. Peer Intervention offers police officers the opportunity to intervene, not just in those instances of excessive force, but in any instance where another officer’s actions or inactions puts them at risk of dishonoring themselves, their family or the badge. Peer Intervention must include “Permission” to all officers to intervene and allow the intervention.

Chevron has been using the permission model with great success and law enforcement can learn from it.

The Stop Work Authority pocket card encourages and enables every single worker at the refinery, regardless of rank or expertise, to stop any work if they believe that it is not being done safely.

All refinery workers must respect an exercise of Stop Work Authority when someone raises a safety concern. It has the full backing of the Richmond Refinery Management Team, and the pocket card issued to employees and contractors includes my signature. Employees are both encouraged and celebrated when they use their Stop Work Authority.

After the work is stopped or paused, a conversation about the concern follows. Next, the person in charge of the work is notified, and we involve the right people in reviewing the situation, sometimes even technical experts who can offer the best knowledge about the situation. (Kory Judd, 2015)

Chevron’s stop work authority gives every employee, from the janitor to the CEO, permission to protect other employees.

I have talked to officers across the U.S. and Canada. I always ask for officers to raise their hand if they have never done anything that could have cost them their job. I have seen one hand go up in 10 years. In that instance the other CLEOs in the room just rolled their eyes. Cops will make mistakes and sometimes they will deliberately break the law. In most cases other cops know about the conduct but decline to intervene. They decline because their training never included the idea of peer intervention or permission to intervene in another officer’s behavior, but it should.

The IELTB training has an oath that is based on the second sentence of the law enforcement oath. It reads:

I promise that I will always have the courage to stand by you and for you.

I promise that I will never allow, through action or inaction, any act that dishonors you, your family or the badge.

I ask that you promise to do the same for me.

With 30 years in law enforcement I understand when cops read the oath and say “Yeah, sure.” Then I ask them to do this simple exercise: Write a letter to the spouse and children of the officer who just went to prison for something you witnessed or were aware of and could have stopped. Tell them why you didn’t have the courage to protect that officer when they clearly needed your help. Sign your name to it and then imagine delivering it in person.

PERF and the POLICE FOUNDATION both need to step up and mandate Peer Intervention, in all its forms. We are our brother’s keeper and Peer Intervention is about Officer Survival. Survival of your career, your family and your freedom.

Michael W. Quinn

Managing Partner

International Ethics and Leadership Training Bureau, LLP

February 6, 2016

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I testified last week against the City of Milwaukee in Betker V. the City of Milwaukee. The case was about whether or not an officer deliberately lied in an affidavit to obtain a no-knock search warrant. But it was also about accountability. The officer, Rodolfo Gomez, is awaiting trial for assaulting a handcuffed prisoner. He had a history of being arrested for minor crimes but was still a Milwaukee cop. The affidavit was so full of misleading statements that the jury deliberated for only a couple hours before coming back with a unanimous verdict.
I am glad the jury got it right because this could have been bad. Bad for the plaintiffs and even worse for the SWAT team that served the warrant.

The plaintiffs in this case we're home and asleep in their bed when the SWAT team came through two separate entrances into their house.  The target? A woman with a 24 year old credit card fraud conviction with no criminal history since then. The complaint "Felon in Possession of a Handgun." A complaint made by an angry sister. The target's husband, Richard Betker,  responded to the noise and confusion with a gun in hand ready to repel the intruders.  Luckily for the police officers Betker did not fire his weapon.  Luckily for Betker, he was only shot in the shoulder and in the hand, losing half of one finger.

I know it seems wrong to say Betker was lucky, but he was standing behind a wall sticking his arm around the corner gun in hand and did not realize it was the police.  I know from experience that when you serve a high-risk warrant people are often confused and respond as if being attacked.  If Betker had responded with a high powered rifle, which he also had available,  we might have seen line of duty deaths and the death of Richard Betker.  All of this because one officer couldn't be truthful in his affidavit.

I cannot fault the officers of the SWAT team after reading the hundreds of pages of documentation on this case.  I have looked down the barrel of my own gun at close range in the hands of a suspect I was trying to arrest, so I have some sense of what the officers felt at the scene.  I wonder if the officers involved in serving this No-knock warrant are angry with Gomez for the position he put them in.  They should be.  As an investigator in internal affairs I saw other investigators, and sometimes the chief, give a pass to officers and either not ask the hard questions or condone conduct that should have drawn some type of corrective discipline.  I wonder if this is the case with Gomez.  If so, had Richard Betker shot and killed a Milwaukee police officer the Milwaukee police department would also be to blame. As it is, the jury is sending a message to them also; a $1,000,000 message.

We think we're doing officers a favor when we let their misconduct avoid accountability.  But the truth is we are only feeding them rope to hang themselves with later.
The city of Milwaukee will pay out one million dollars in taxpayers money.  It could have been worse.  It could've been paying for funerals for officers and benefits to their survivors.  The disciplinary process may not change people but it can often change behavior if it is fairly applied.  I hated being disciplined when I screwed up on the job, but I hated it a lot worse when I stood near the casket of an officer killed in the line of duty.

There will always be consequences for unethical behavior.  Somebody will always pay the price. I am sorry Richard Betker has such severe injuries. He does not deserve them.

I am just glad it wasn't an officer's life.

Friday, August 16, 2013

It will be worse than your worst case scenario, trust me.

Many years ago I was teaching, part-time, at Minneapolis Community College Center for Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement. On that day I was running a scenario wherein two officers confront two men in a very tight and dark hallway at the scene of a possible burglary. I had come to know both of these students, one male and one female, from prior training with them and I expected them to do well.  They had demonstrated good communication and officer survival skills in prior evaluations.

The two role players were full time male cops at a local department and in this case they were playing the role of ex-cons who attempted to break into a business without success and were on their way out when the two students blocked their way.

I watched the event unfold from a point of view where I could see and hear everything that happened. I was not under stress and I was making careful observations about how the students were interacting with the role players. I had run this same scenario several times already with other students and I had some sense of how things should go, if everything went right. What happened next is still etched into my training mindset and forever changed the way I viewed future confrontations when I was on the street.

The students initially took control with good verbal commands and they demonstrated good tactics except - the male student did not get the handcuffs on tight enough on his suspect. I cannot tell you exactly what happened next. I was there. I carefully watched the entire scenario and yet, even immediately afterward, I had great difficulty putting it all together and would not have been able to do so without the help of the role players. But here is the bottom line and the reason for today’s blog.

The female student was the only survivor. Her partner was shot twice in the back, with her weapon. One suspect was shot in the back, with her weapon. The other suspect was shot in the chest by the male student, a contact wound directly to the heart. The female student had no injuries, not even a scratch. The entire incident took about 30 seconds and occurred in a space about three feet wide by 10 feet long. She didn’t shoot her partner. One of the role players did. Her partner did shoot the other role player. She was disarmed early in the confrontation and after all was said and done she did recover her weapon and fire the two shots into the back of the other suspect as he tried to acquire her fallen partner’s handgun. Everyone in the scenario was initially speechless, me included.

In my critique I made three points. One, you have to make sure you put handcuffs on properly. Two, when you go to write this up, as the only survivor and witness, you are going to get things wrong. I guarantee it. You will even have difficulty accurately recalling what happened to you, much less your partner. And three, the most important part of the critique. A lot of people are not going to believe you. If this scenario was real, and this was you and your training officer in the first few weeks of training, most cops will call you a liar. They will blame your gender. They will blame your lack of experience. They will make a hero out of your dead partner. But most likely, your career will not recover from this experience, even though you did nothing wrong and it was your partner’s poor handcuffing technique that was the proximate cause.

As I read the StarTribune article today about the shooting death of Terrence Franklin I was reminded of that training scenario from years ago. My own experience on the street confirmed many times over that you cannot conceive of some of the events you will encounter. If you can dream of a worst case scenario for yourself there is always something even worse that is possible. In the Franklin shooting there are multiple cops involved and I can’t and won’t believe that they are all lying. Most cops do this job the right way. Over the years I witnessed cops that should have been fired many times over perform acts of selfless bravery. I am not a fan of Officer Luke Peterson but I have no trouble believing that he would do the same and I applaud him for his actions. It looks like the officers may have made some mistakes in the confrontation with Franklin. I can live with that and at this point we have to trust to forensics and the fact that there are multiple witnesses to this event.

I have consulted on several cases in recent years where suspects have died at the hands of the police and I feel bad for the survivors in those families. I understand the frustration and anger and I would never attempt to minimize how awful it must be for the parents, siblings, and loved ones who are asked to trust that the police did what they had to do. But in the end, that is why we have cops. And I can’t imagine, in even a worst case scenario, a world without them because it would be even worse than that.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It Has To Start At The Top

If you haven’t read it yet, I have posted a link to Michael Friedman’s commentary in the Star Tribune on how to reform the Minneapolis Police Department. This is by far the most realistic analysis I have read yet on on dealing the police misconduct on the MPD. You can find it at

In this same edition Chief Harteau is quoted as saying she wants officers to “say something” if they see another officer involved in misconduct. Say something? To Whom? The officer? Their supervisor? Internal Affairs? I can tell you exactly how that works; it doesn’t. Unless saying something means saying it to the cops involved in the misconduct and the words are: “Not Here, Not Now, Not in Front of Me, That's Not Going to Happen.”

There are consequences for cops who report other cops so they seldom report the misconduct even though the Minneapolis Police Department manual is pretty clear.



6. Employees shall immediately report any violation of rules, regulations, or laws that come to their attention to the Internal Affairs Unit, regardless of the violator's assignment or rank within the Department.[i]

 Every police department in the country has a similar policy. I have talked to cops across Canada and the United States and every cop knows this policy is there but they all admit it is the most commonly violated policy in the whole manual. It is seen by most as a “gotcha” policy to be used to discipline an officer when a department can’t justify anything else.
Let me give you a Reader’s Digest version of my history of reporting misconduct with the MPD. Late 1970’s I tell the Deputy Chief Brucianni about two vice cops beating up a prostitute. Two days later one of the cops grabs me and threatens to “kill me” if I ever snitch him off again. He meant it.

There are several incidents over my 23 year career but skip ahead to the 1990’s. A rookie police officer in the academy relates an event to the entire rookie class about how on her ride along the two cops kicked in a door without a warrant and then admitted to her that they use Creative Report writing and lie about their justification. They tell her “That’s how it’s done in the 3rd precinct.” I take it to my Lieutenant. The two cops are separated and sent to new precincts. No discipline. The department allows the prosecution to proceed against the man arrested because drugs and guns were seized. The cop who told the entire rookie class this story? No longer a cop. 

That is typical of what happens when cops report the misconduct of other cops. They get put under so much pressure they resign.  I like the idea of some sort of protection for whistle blowers but written orders or even laws alone will have as much power as the code of conduct rule I  listed above. In other words, none.  We don’t need whistle blowers. We need cops brave enough to stand up to the cops who are making them look bad.  We need cops who are willing to intervene in the misconduct of other cops. Cops don’t need to say something. They need to DO something. Cops need to know that their behavior will not be tolerated by the other cops. The idea that we can make a difference by offering more training on cultural diversity and racism is a smoke shield.
Most cops, as Chief Harteau points out, are good cops. We need them to step up and hold the other cops accountable, but it has to start at the top. As long as you have cops like Lucas Peterson that can get away with excessive force, charging people with crimes they never committed, and lying in their reports, working the street you will never get the good cops to come forward.

Chief Harteau, you want to change the culture of the MPD? Then hold cops like Peterson, Thole, and Powell accountable.  Make the rest of us, and your cops, believe that you mean what you say.

Mike Quinn

[i]Downloaded on August 6, 2013 from

Monday, August 5, 2013

We ARE the heroes.

I know that cops who bring disgrace to our profession bring us all down, across the country. I also know as I have noted in my book and in my lectures, that most cops do the right thing. We are all capable of acts of evil, yet the vast majority of cops do not give in to those desires to meet out justice on our own terms. Given the power and control we have over peoples lives and the opportunities for misconduct that are so tempting when dealing with the criminal element it makes me proud to know that most cops do not succumb but instead make us proud.
My good friend and former partner Chief Greg Hestness at the University of Minnesota is always the advocate for all the good things cops do. He helps to keep me on track and remind me of the good work done by so many. The following is from the UMPD Report. My congratulations to all the officers involved especially Officer McElroy.
MP13-251677  JUMPER  1 Portland Ave. S  Officer McElroy responded to a jumper call on the Stone Arch Bridge.  Upon arrival he found a male straddling the railing with his shoes off, telling passerby's he intended to jump.  Officer McElroy engaged the male in conversation and was eventually able to establish enough rapport with the man to convince him to bring his leg back over the railing.  In the process of coming back over the railing, the man lost his balance and began to fall backwards, off the bridge.  Officer McElroy grabbed the man and pulled him over the railing.  MPD officers assisted him with securing the male.  Male was transported to HCMC APS on a hold.  Supplement was added.

***Excellent job by Officer McElroy and all MPD officers who assisted!***
Here are some of Chief Hestness' comments.
I know all the focus is on bad cops again and we give lip service to the good ones out there.  Case in point, Mark McElroy.  He is still on probation, almost done.  I hired him away from HCSO last year.  He was a four year Gopher lineman under Coach Mason, 6-5, 300 plus.  We often don’t credit huge guys with the gift of gab and empathy, but he has it.  ....  I have to admit when it comes to pulling people off the railing, being huge and quick has its advantages.
Gregory S. Hestness
Assistant Vice President
Chief of Police
University of Minnesota
Good Job University of Minnesota Police Department. You make us all proud.
We are our brother's keeper,
Mike Quinn

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The price cops pay when they report misconduct by another cop.

A few days ago I was contacted by my friend Michelle Gross of Communities United Against Police Brutality – .  She wanted to know if I could help some police officers that they were supporting in a whistle blower case. Most cops don’t like CUAPB because being called out publicly by Communities United Against Police Brutality usually means being accused of brutality. What many people, especially cops, fail to understand is that this organization is about justice, for everyone. Cops complain about CUAPB unfairly accusing them of brutality but the fact is that it is the cops who are continuously finding new ways to embarrass themselves. Today’s article in the StarTribune is just one more example.  

“Two Minneapolis police officers placed on leave are being investigated for allegations that they used racial and sexual slurs when talking to a Green Bay, Wis., police officer following an altercation there, sources told the Star Tribune Friday.
While the department declined to name the officers or describe the incident, the sources said that officers Brian Thole and Shawn Powell got into an argument last month with two black men in Green Bay, where Powell used to be a police officer. The officers were off-duty at the time.
Police were called but the dispute ended without further incident and no one was arrested, the sources said. Thole and Powell then contacted a higher-up within the Green Bay Police Department and used a racial slur when describing the men, as well as a sexual slur about Minneapolis Police Chief JaneĆ© Harteau, who is the city’s first gay police chief.
The Green Bay Police Department sent an incident report to the Minneapolis Police Department about what happened, according to the sources. That report made its way to Internal Affairs and to Harteau, who placed the officers, who are white, on paid leave. They have been removed from the SWAT team, the sources said.” [i]

Most cops hate this kind of behavior even more than the public because they know it reflects on all of them.
I can virtually guarantee that Officers Thole and Powell assumed that their use of racial and sexual slurs would never be reported by another cop. There is a code of silence that prevents that in most organizations, thankfully not on the Green Bay Department. Thank you Green Bay Police Department for doing the right thing. You showed a level of professionalism that is clearly not present in the Minneapolis Police Department. Why would I say that? Let’s look at this case. Clearly the Minneapolis cops thought that their conduct was acceptable based on the way they work in Minneapolis. Why else would they think they could get away with that kind of language with another agency? That leads us right to the supervisors and other officers on the streets who tolerate their behavior. But what happens when cops do report misconduct on the part of other cops? Retribution!

Which brings me back to the cops at CUAPB: Officer Alan Watt and Sergeant Robin Erkenbrack of the Crystal Police Department wanted to know why Sgt. Greg Burstad, a Brooklyn Park Police Officer assigned to the now disbanded Metro Gang Strike Force was able to kick in the door of a home in Crystal MN, seize the entire contents of the home, and not be held accountable? When these two honorable officers started to push the investigation with the Crystal Chief their lives were turned upside down, and remain that way. It appears that the Crystal Chief is protecting Burstad although it is hard to understand why. In an arrest Burstad made in December of 2011 Burstad reported:  

“At that time I did pull my squad car along side the driver’s side portion of the suspect vehicle and attempted to stop Lee from running. I did exit my car and observed that A.L. was attempting to run northbound away from officers and I came around the front portion of my squad car and attempted to tackle him so that he could not get away. I was giving him numerous verbal commands to cooperate and get down on the ground so that he could be taken into custody. A.L. was not cooperating and I attempted to grab his arm and take control for A.L. I did receive minor injuries to my right kneecap and began struggling with A.L to get him to the ground. It should be noted at this time I was stuck between my car and the suspect vehicle in tight quarters in attempting to get A.L. into custody. I was able to physically wrestle and fight L. to the ground and attempted to handcuff Lee. It should be noted that I gave A.L. numerous commands to cooperate and put his hands behind his back but he was not responding.”

Now watch the video at this link and tell me what you see. This is the actual arrest.

I’ll tell you what I see: a black man with his hands in air, standing still, and a cop assaulting him with as many as 20 punches. And this cop is still patrolling the streets after a 5 day suspension for policy violations. Policy violations? Are you kidding me? How about assault?

As you read through the statements to follow by Erkenbrack and Watt, which are public information and were shared with me by the officers, I know that you will have the same question any reasonable person has: What? You will have that question because there is no way to understand what has happened to them. I do know that what is happening to them is wrong and needs to stop.  

Statement of Alan L. Watt
In early Fall 2012, I became aware of an incident related to the Ramirez family in Crystal in which the family experienced theft and burglary of their possessions from their apartment that involved the Metro Gang Strike Force. I learned that the family filed an offense report that was not being investigated and, in fact, was being covered up. I did not feel it was right that the family was being denied police services simply because another police agency may be involved. I also heard that the investigator, Brandon Johnson, was being pressured not to investigate the case. The only people who could pressure him would be police administration.
I heard from coworkers that the FBI was investigating the Ramirez incident. I contacted the FBI and told the investigator that I felt that because of past practices by police administration of engaging in other cover ups, I believed they were responsible for this cover up. I listed the following examples of police administration misconduct:
 I became aware that then Sgt. Fealy (now Chief Revering), Sgt. Gustafson and another officer had gone to a strip club off duty. While there, they got into an altercation with a patron they recognized as a Crystal resident known to the police department. During the course of the altercation, they had to be escorted out by strip club management. A complaint was made with Chief Banick but it was covered up and not investigated.
 I was present when Sgt. Fealy performed the second day of a two-day check out of former police officer Michael Keller. Prior to the end of shift, at approximately 2:00 a.m., he was packing up his locker and I later found out that he had been let go in the middle of the shift. I was told later by other officers that Sgt. Erkenbrack had found a note in her old desk stating that Sgt. Fealy and Ofc. Krob had made a bet about when Keller would be fired and the wager would be for a bottle of booze. I was told by Ofc. Krob that neither Fealy nor Krob was ever disciplined. Once again, the misconduct appears to have been covered up.
 I heard from other officers that Sgt. Todd Gustafson, supervisor of investigations, had brought a large, cone-shaped mortar round—a bomb—back from a search warrant and left it in the police department. The bomb squad was called by another police officer and they ordered the police department to be evacuated. They later determined that the bomb was a live round and had to detonate it. By bringing the bomb back to the police department and placing ¡t in the building, Gustafson endangered the officers, city workers and the public. Yet there was no internal affairs investigation.
 In yet a different situation, Chief Banick and Deputy Chief Fealy falsified a complaint against Ofc. Jessica Donahue regarding some property that had no dollar value (three homemade music CDs). Ofc. Donahue had recovered this property during an offense report incident. The property had been placed ¡n a secured area until it could be logged into evidence. She momentarily forgot to move the items into evidence as her father was dying of cancer. Deputy Chief Fealy went to the people listed on the offense report and attempted to solicit a complaint from them. After Donahue returned from funeral leave from burying her father, she was pulled into the office and told there had been a complaint. However, the people listed on the offense report stated they never made a complaint. Donahue got a letter ¡n her file even though there was no actual complaint. Donahue had a previous dispute with Fealy and Banick and this appears to have been retaliation.
On October 7, 2012, I sent an email to Assistant City Manager Kim Therres expressing my concerns about “the Ramirez family situation with former Chief Banick” (the lack of investigation and the following cover up). I also sent the message to City Manager Anne Norris. In a follow up email to Norris I asked “why former Chief Banick, current Chief Fealy, and Lt. Gustafson are allowed to commit acts which are morally, ethically and legally wrong without consequence” and I predicted that “I’ll be punished in some way” as retaliation for raising these allegations. (See attached.) I soon found that my prediction would come true.
On October 15, 2012, I was called to the chief’s office regarding leaving my unloaded side arm in a secured area in the police department eight months prior—a common practice among Crystal officers. I was told several times by Chief Fealy and Lt. Leslin that I was not in trouble and I did not need any sort of representation, even though I asked. I answered their questions but they kept badgering me to give them the answer they wanted.
On October 18, 2012, in the evening, I received a call from Chief Fealy asking me to come ¡n the next day, which was my scheduled day off. As a single father, I explained that this was too short of notice and that I would have to bring my kids. She demanded that I come in but not with my kids. I contacted my union rep, who sent a letter explaining my situation. Fealy later characterized this as “being insubordinate” and failing to respond” despite offering to meet her on the following Monday.
On October 19, 2012, I was placed on administrative leave. I was told I was not ¡n trouble and this was not a disciplinary leave. However, they took my badge, keys and other police equipment. I was told not to identify myself as a police officer while on leave. Further, I was ordered not to have any contact whatsoever—even socially—with any coworkers, city officials or any city employees except my union rep. This Is an illegal order in violation of my Constitutional right to free speech and freedom of association.
On December 20, 2012, I attended an interview regarding the incident noted above. However, now this became an investigation for discipline. I was later told that the result of the investigation was inconclusive but was still sent to a city-selected and hired psychiatrist, who stated “Mr. Watt is able to safely perform his duties as a peace officer at this time. There appears to be no physical impairment or condition at this time that would prevent him from safely performing those duties.” Despite this determination, I was still not allowed to return to work.
In a letter dated April 18, 2013, Chief Revering stated “Your anger and criticisms of superiors appear to be at odds with a common understanding of the employment relationship.” She added, “You have engaged in a number of angry outbursts toward coworkers and superiors” and “you failed to use calm and respectful ways of resolving problems.” No particular incidents or details were given. This is clear retaliation given that Fealy (Revering) herself has been involved in a number of specific incidents of angry outbursts ¡n the work place. Examples include:
Revering became angry at Ofc. Drake and threw a pencil that hit him in his eye.
At a staff meeting, Revering became angry at Sgt. Holm and began swearing and screaming at him. She followed him through the department as he retreated to his office while she screamed “do your fucking job!” over and over. This was so loud that it was heard throughout the department, including downstairs.
Ofc. Phil Johnson was supervisor of the shift and assigned Revering to an end of the city along with other officers coming on shift. In front of other officers, she began screaming about her objections to the assignment and that she was not going to do it. Ofc. Leslin moved Revering’s squad car as a joke. She thought I did it and followed me into the men’s locker room screaming where’s my fucking car?” and things to that effect.
On April 19, 2013, I was told I would be placed on 30 days of unpaid leave, during which time I could not work any outside job. As an afterthought, Revering then stated that this would be 30 business days—6 weeks—without income. As a single father of three children, this has created a genuine hardship for me and appears to have been the intent. In addition, I was told that despite the favorable determination by their psychiatrist, when I returned to work I would be banned from carrying a gun and making arrests, the most humiliating thing you can do to a police officer. This clearly shows personal retaliation by Chief Revering.
I was supposed to return to duty on June 3, 2013 however on May31 I received an email from Chief Revering (formerly Fealy) and copied to City Manager Anne Norris informing me that I am not to report to work and that I would remain on home assignment until further notice. I was also told that my pay is being reduced from investigator to patrol.
I remain on administrative leave to this day, with no indication as to when I may come back to work. I believe all of the things that have happened to me are retaliation for complaining about misconduct by police management, especially my complaint about the Ramirez cover up.
I have been a Crystal police officer for 17 years. I have received numerous commendations and much praise from business owners and community members for going the extra mile. I have never had any complaints by community members and no prior significant discipline to the best of my knowledge.
This statement is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.
Statement is signed by Alan Watt and Dated June 16,2013

Statement of Robin Erkenbrack
I am filing this complaint against Crystal Police Chief Stephanie Revering. I am experiencing illegal retaliation from her as a result of being a whistleblower for reporting corruption on the part of Revering and for expressing concern over the lack of investigation into a crime that occurred to the Ramirez family by a police officer from another police agency. Further, in this retaliation from Chief Revering, she knowingly has exceeded her authority in violation of Minnesota criminal statute 609.43, subdivision 2.
Corruption by Stephanie Fealy (now Revering)
On December 9, 2007, I was moving to a new desk ¡n the sergeant’s office. The desk I was moving to had been occupied by Stephanie Fealy (now Revering) and she had moved to another office. In the process of cleaning out the desk, I found a note taped to the back of a drawer. This note was a bet ¡n writing between Fealy and Jerry Krob, a background investigator, on when a new officer, Mike Keller, would be terminated. The reward for winning the bet would be “a bottle of booze.” See attached. At the time, Fealy oversaw training of new officers and would have control over whether new officers successfully passed training and kept their position. The date of the bet was 12/6/06, before Keller had even been hired. This was clearly gross misconduct on the part of now-chief Revering.
Upon finding the note, I followed department policy mandating that I report it and saw to it that it was submitted to police Chief John Banick. My reason for reporting this incident was that Sgt. Fealy, who was in charge of training, entered into a bet for value on when someone who was under her authority would be fired.  It should be noted that this was not a “gentleman’s bet,” a bet with nothing wagered, as both Fealy and Krob said in their statements. This was a bet to win a tangible item of monetary value, a bottle of booze, as evidenced ¡n the written bet itself. Subsequently Fealy saw to it that Keller was fired. It should be further noted that both Fealy and Krob used the term “gentleman’s bet” in their statements—a term rarely used—and an indication that they likely collaborated prior to giving their statements, the very thing I am now being accused of.
My report of this matter led to an internal affairs investigation in which Fealy admitted participating in the bet but the matter was apparently found not to be misconduct. In her statement, Fealy stated “Rob and I have had a conflict for quite a while.”  I don’t have a personal conflict with her. However, by her own admission, even before her retaliation against me began, she had a conflict against me. She also stated that I should not have reported the matter, even though that would have been in direct violation of department policy.
Concern about Ramirez Incident
In fall 2012, I learned about complaints by community members that the Crystal police department had failed to investigate a felony theft/burglary and dispossession from their home of a Crystal Hispanic family involving the Metro Gang Strike Force. I was asked to meet with two newly-elected city council members. During those meetings, I expressed my concern about misconduct on the part of Crystal police management for failure to investigate an obvious felony, and the need for an investigation into whom within police management blocked the Investigation and then participated in the resulting cover up. I know that Chief Banick was aware of the lack of investigation into this serious crime and then-Deputy Chief Stephanie Fealy worked closely with him and would have been aware of this situation. I also expressed my concerns to other members of the police department.
Retaliation Began
Stephanie Revering (formerly Fealy) was promoted to police chief in early Fall 2012 then shortly after meeting with the city council members, I was investigated for an incident that I was not involved in nor present for, then placed on administrative leave. I was pressured to retire and told that if I did not accept the retirement, I would face possible termination or demotion and that police administration would open up other internal affairs investigations on me. These statements were recorded by my union attorney. After refusing to retire, I was demoted from Sergeant to patrol officer. Although I was to return to work on May 24, 2013, I have since been told that I am to remain on leave. Further, I was told that my office was cleaned out, my department email was shut down, and I was required to turn in my badge. To this day, I still have not been given any particularized findings as to why I was disciplined/demoted or why I am still on leave. I have not been told when I can—if ever— return to duty. I have attached correspondence from the city.
I am a 27 year veteran of this department and have received numerous commendations.  In my 27 years with the department, I have never received a complaint by a community member or had any significant discipline that I am aware of. I have devoted my entire career to integrity in law enforcement. I love serving the residents of the city of Crystal.
It is my belief that the current situation I am experiencing is illegal retaliation for being a whistleblower related to corruption on the part of Crystal police administration, especially on the part of Chief Stephanie Revering.
I was ordered by Chief Revering not to discuss this matter with anyone other than union or legal counsel. Chief Revering exceeds her authority when she orders me not to discuss matters which involve her own misconduct as this is a matter of public concern.
This is a complaint of gross misconduct against Chief Stephanie Revering. However, one of the letters I received was signed by city manager, Anne Norris. Therefore, following the chain of command and proper procedure, I submit this complaint to Norris’ supervisor, the Crystal city council.
This statement is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.
Statement is signed by Erkenbrack and Dated 6-13-13. Mq.
Now the question is what does the community wants out of this. If you want your cops to continue to cover for each other, lie, and get away with assault you do nothing. You say
“There must be two sides to the story” or “It is an internal problem, nothing I can do.”
Or, you call your city council members and the mayor in Crystal and demand that the Chief of Police explain what she is doing to these cops and why.

Jim Adams
(612) 805-5101
Laura Libby
Section I; Wards 1 & 2
(763) 670-2721
Mark Hoffmann
Ward 1
(763) 531-1006
Joe Selton
Ward 2
(763) 535-3564
John Budziszewski   
Section II; Wards 3 & 4   
(763) 531-1003  
Casey Peak
Ward 3
(763) 531-1008
Julie Deshler
Ward 4
(612) 306-5808

City Hall Switchboard: (763) 531-1000   (M-F 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) 
Anne Norris
City Manager
(763) 531-1140
Kimberly Therres
Assistant City Manager/HR Manager
(763) 531-1132
Chrissy Serres
City Clerk
(763) 531-1145

And if they can’t or won’t help you can contact the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association at and ask them to get involved.

I know the Crystal Community wants good police officers who stand up for what’s right. Here is your chance to do something to support right conduct in the Crystal PD.
You can see Ramirez’ testimony about the night his home was seized at: The Uptake: Joint legislative committee on public safety agenda: Testimony on MN Seizure Laws. Youtube link -
These cops need and deserve your help. Please take the time to help them. Feel free to forward this blog to your neighbors and friends.
Mike Quinn – Minneapolis Police Department (Ret)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What we wish every cop could be?

When I was writing my book, Walking With the Devil: The Police Code of Silence, I thought I was writing a book about police training. Turns out, with a little introspection, that I didn’t want to write a book about training I wanted to write a book about how to be a good cop. After 23+ years with the Minneapolis PD, 18 months with The Police Corps Program, 17 years of SWAT, 8 years with FBI SWAT and 4 years as supervisor of Minneapolis Police Academy I was an instructor in almost every skill set necessary to be a cop with good technical skills. But good technical skills are only part of the job. Over the years I came to know some decorated officers that had great technical skills but were also racist, homophobic, and/or brutal. Many of them were powerful informal leaders that arrested a lot of bad guys. They demonstrated a gift for creative report writing and smooth talking. They were allowed to stay cops only because no one challenged them; not their co-workers, not their supervisors and not their departments. All of which brings me to Officer Lucas Peterson and the Minneapolis Police Department.   

Peterson has 13 excessive force complaints. He has cost the community $700,000.00 in law suit payments. In 2006 Peterson was caught lying in a police report where he charged a woman with a crime[i] she never committed. Chief Dolan did not hold him accountable. He sent him back to the street.
Now he shoots and kills a man, is given an outrageous amount of time to get his story straight, and the police federation calls him a hero. “He’s kind of, in my opinion, what we wish every cop could be,” said John Delmonico, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis.[ii]

The fact that Delmonico said that does not make it true. I know that most of the cops working the street in Minneapolis are good cops and they do not support lying or excessive force. So, does Delmonico think he is speaking for our federation representatives or the department as a whole? I can tell you this – John Delmonico does not speak for me as a retired cop or as a Minneapolis resident. He does not speak for my father Lt. William B. Quinn, MPD Retired/Deceased. He does not speak for my sister Special Agent Ann Quinn-Robinson, formerly a sergeant with the MPD. The fact that Lucas Peterson can do what some people call heroic does not excuse being brutal or being a liar.

The biggest downside to Peterson still working as a cop is this:
“Communities that allow their cops to ignore the rules and marginalize any part of the community are only trading one form of violence for another—and it is a bad trade. You cannot separate individual justice from community justice. It is a symbiotic relationship. Like an injury to the human body, an injury to the justice system at the personal level is an injury to the body of the community.

To “protect and serve,” that is our real mandate. If there is going to be pain and injury, it should be the result of our efforts to carry out that mandate, not the result of violating it. No matter how hard we try, innocents will suffer and evil will occasionally win. We cannot protect everyone, everywhere, and there will always be some pain in the community. The community understands that.

What they cannot understand, and should not tolerate, are protectors that are the cause of their pain.[iii]

[i] 2012 Minnesota Statutes: 609.2231 ASSAULT IN THE FOURTH DEGREE. Subdivision 1.Peace officers. 
Whoever physically assaults a peace officer licensed under section 626.845, subdivision 1, when that officer is effecting a lawful arrest or executing any other duty imposed by law is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both
[ii] Downloaded on July 16, 2013 from
[iii] Quinn, Michael W. 2005. Walking With the Devil: The Police Code of Silence. Quinn and Associates, Minneapolis, MN.