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Powers to Investigate Crime and Make Arrests

Only licensed peace officers have the full powers of arrest and the authority and duty to prevent and detect crime and enforce the general criminal laws of the state. Licensed peace officers include:

  • County sheriffs and sheriff's deputies
  • Municipal police officers
  • State troopers
  • Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents
  • Gambling enforcement agents
  • Conservation officers
  • Department of Corrections fugitive apprehension unit officers

A peace officer license is a statewide license, but it is not effective until the officer is hired by a law enforcement agency. A peace officer has full authority within the jurisdiction of the employing agency. A peace officer’s authority is somewhat limited outside of the agency’s jurisdiction. Officers from other states have authority when acting in “fresh pursuit.” Minnesota permits citizens’ arrests for felonies and for lesser crimes committed in the person’s presence.

Training and licensing of peace officers is overseen by the Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training, also known as the POST Board. The POST Board’s primary powers are to:

  • License peace officers
  • Certify peace officer education programs
  • Work with others to develop in-service (continuing) training programs and other specialized courses of instruction and
  • Assist local law enforcement agencies with misconduct procedures and issues

October 2002

Adult Criminal Justice Process Overview