St. Paul city council member Dave Thune is rather peeved that the Ramsey County Sheriff's Department took it upon themselves to handle things within the city of St. Paul, which does have its own police force, as he points out. Then again, the St. Paul city cops are, you know, actual cops, not guys dressed up as officers and carrying sidearms (and pocketing money in videotapes) but mysteriously lacking in law enforcement credentials, unless you consider being best man at the sheriff's wedding a law enforcement credential. My favorite quotes from the linked article by David Hanners of the St. Paul Pioneer Press are these:
Legal experts and state regulators said they would be concerned about Naylon's role as a civilian performing police work. Paul Monteen, standards coordinator of the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards & Training, said he couldn't talk about the case specifically, but generally, if "an individual practices law enforcement outside the license system of the state, it may violate the statutory obligations of impersonating a police officer."
Stephen Cribari, who teaches criminal law and procedure and evidence at the University of Minnesota Law School, said it seemed an unusual case.
"I frankly have never encountered a Police Department that has used its civilian personnel in their investigations, other than in the forensic sense," he said. "It's odd, but I'm not sure there's anything illegal about it. It's certainly interesting if they've got a civilian employee who is acting as peace officer without the qualifications of a peace officer."
"It's certainly interesting" is a phrase which might be translated from the Scandosotan as "ça va pêter des flammes,*" perhaps. (I'm in Montreal at the moment, following Jo Walton's excellent convention Farthing Party.)
Today's protest march in St. Paul is expected to top 50,000, say organizers. We'll see how that goes.
*"Well, that's gonna fart flames." As in, this is gonna hit the fan.