Police Department Structure

The structure of the Airport Police Department consists of two primary functional areas: Operations and Support Services. Within these two areas, there are seven divisions and multiple units that work together to achieve a high standard of excellence in aviation policing. View an organizational chart of MSP's Public Safety Department.


Police Operations is the largest functional area and the core of the Airport Police Department. In addition to uniformed patrol, the staff in this area perform a variety of duties to prevent crime, protect life and property and preserve peace, order and safety. A deputy chief of police directs the work in three primary divisions in this area: Patrol, Special Operations and Investigations, and Airport Security. 

Patrol Division

Uniformed officers in the Patrol Division are assigned to one of several shifts, consisting of either 10 or 12 hour days. Coverage is provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Patrol officers serve as first responders to calls related to thefts, injury accidents, medical issues, disorderly conduct and security violations. They also conduct criminal investigations and perform traffic enforcement duties. A lieutenant manages the patrol operation and is supported by sergeants who are responsible for leading and supervising the various patrol shifts.

In addition to 70 full-time licensed police officers, 33 part-time licensed police officers provide foot patrol near the security checkpoints in the terminals. Retired police officers find this position gives them the ability to continue serving the public on a part-time basis.

Traffic Control Agents (TCAs) are civilian staff who monitor compliance with federal security directives that prohibit parked and unattended vehicles on the roadways in front of both terminals. The MAC’s “no-waiting” ordinance is enforced in order to provide everyone an opportunity to utilize the curb space for loading and unloading luggage. TCAs also assist with oversized or disabled vehicles, perform perimeter checks, transport and set up equipment for special details, release vehicle impounds, book suspects and other tasks. This program, formerly known as the Community Service Officers (CSOs) program, was created in 1988 and is run by a sergeant with lead TCAs providing daily work direction. Many TCAs are pursuing a career in law enforcement. There are close to 30 TCAs who work a variety of shifts and hours. 

Special Operations & Investigations Division

A lieutenant provides direction to this division ensuring MSP Airport is in compliance with federal, state and local regulations related to safety and security. The division is comprised of the Explosive Detection Canine (EDC K-9) Unit, Emergency Response Team (ERT), Tactical Negotiations Team (TNT), Honor Guard and the Airport Watch Program. Detectives and officers in this division investigate suspicious activity and security violations (presenting of false identification when applying for a badge, attempting to bring weapons or other prohibited items through a checkpoint) and non-compliance with MSP Airport’s security ordinance. They also conduct vulnerability assessments, participate in counter terrorism activities, take action to ensure security compliance, work with airport tenants on safety and security issues and facilitate improvements. Examples of security violations include presenting false identification when applying for a badge, attempting to bring weapons or other prohibited items through a checkpoint and non-compliance with MSP Airport’s security ordinance. 

A detective from this division is assigned to serve on one of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs). Joint Terrorism Task Forces are our nation’s front line of defense against terrorism, both international and domestic, and they are comprised of groups of highly trained, locally based, passionately committed investigators, analysts, linguists and other specialists from dozens of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Sergeants are responsible for leading the detectives and officers in the day-to-day activities, managing contract security services operations and personnel and for coordinating all special events to include dignitary details. 

Aviation Security Division

The civilian Airport Security Coordinator (ASC) is responsible for updating the airport security plan and ensuring all airport employees, tenants, contractors and vendors comply with the federal security directives in place to promote the safety and security of the airport. The ASC manages the Airport Badging Office, which provides service to more than 19,000 airport identification badge holders. The Badging Office, located on Level 5 between the Red & Blue Parking Ramps at Terminal 1, is managed by the Airport Police Department and provides badging services to thousands of employees and vendors at MSP. For more information about badging policies and procedures, as well as current badging office hours, visit www.mymspconnect.com/badging.

Support Services

A deputy chief of police is responsible for the functions in four primary divisions in this area: Professional Standards & Training, Criminal Investigations, Emergency Communications and Administration. Each of these divisions perform distinct functions.

Professional Standards & Training Division

This division is directed by a lieutenant who manages the following: department policy creation and updates, staff recruitment, background investigations of candidates for public safety positions, planning and oversight of department training and coordination of the Field Training Officer (FTO) program. Additionally, staff in this division are responsible for the management of the airport’s Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) system, which is utilized to enhance security and assist in the resolution of law enforcement issues. 

Criminal Investigations Division

A lieutenant manages this division and oversees the areas of general and narcotic investigations. A sergeant is responsible for leading the day-to-day activities of the detectives who work in one of these two areas and also oversees the alcohol/tobacco compliance check program.

The lieutenant also has responsibility for Internal Affairs, which involves investigating incidents and plausible suspicions of professional misconduct attributed to officers on the force. 

General Investigations

In this unit, detectives interview victims, suspects and witnesses, prepare and execute search or arrest warrants, conduct surveillance, gather evidence, process crime scenes, prepare cases for criminal prosecution, interact with attorneys and judges, testify in court and secure property and evidence. They investigate crimes such as theft, child pornography and death investigations. As time permits, detectives carry out undercover, proactive details to prevent further criminal activity. Detectives use a variety of advanced technology and tools to aid them in solving crime. 

Federal cases are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Felony level cases, criminal sexual conduct and juvenile cases are prosecuted by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. Gross misdemeanor, misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor cases are prosecuted by Chestnut Cambronne Attorneys at Law. 

Narcotic Investigations

Detectives in this unit have removed thousands of pounds of illegal narcotics from the streets and have seized millions of dollars in proceeds from the sale of illegal narcotics. They partner with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and a detective is assigned to the DEA’s Task Force. The department’s share of drug forfeiture funds are used to purchase non-budgeted items such as the Incident Command Vehicle. 

Two canine (K-9) teams assist with the unit’s interdiction efforts. These narcotics detection K-9 teams are among the top in the nation. In addition, the K-9 teams assist with school searches, traffic stops, search warrants and requests for assistance from other law enforcement agencies.

Emergency Communications Division

The airport's Emergency Communication Center (ECC) is one of 17 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) in the Twin Cities' nine-county metropolitan area that receives 911 calls or transfers calls to other public safety agencies. It operates 24/7 to respond to calls made on the airport's campus and surrounding area, and dispatches public safety services as needed. The ECC is responsible for monitoring a variety of systems such as fire protection, secure card access, perimeter security and more than 3,000 security cameras.

The ECC is staffed by professional emergency communication specialists who come with a variety of backgrounds and public safety experience. Following national training standards, the ECC conducts a comprehensive 22-week on-the-job training program for new hires, which may be tailored to meet the needs of each candidate's experience level.

The ECC is a unique PSAP in that it serves an airport community with an ever-changing population of travelers, as well as airport tenants and Metropolitan Airports Commission employees. In addition to its traditional PSAP responsibilities, the ECC is responsible for monitoring a variety of systems such as fire protection, secure card access, perimeter security and more than 2,000 security cameras in and around the MSP Airport campus. As there is a strong focus on aviation security, the ECC also works closely with various federal agencies, such as the Transportation Security Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, Center for Disease Control, FBI and the Secret Service.

Continuing education and training occurs for all staff throughout the year. ECC personnel are also used in the field as incident and tactical dispatchers, the APD Emergency Response Team and the Metro Region Communications Response Taskforce.

Administration Division


In this unit, staff are responsible for the records management system that houses the department’s police incident reports. They also submit data to the State of Minnesota courts system, and provide prosecuting and defense attorneys with requested information, research and report statistics, respond to requests for law enforcement data, and handle the archival, retention, purging and release of public information. 

Property & Evidence

A civilian property and evidence technician is responsible for the intake, storage and disposition of all property and evidence for the department until it is returned to the rightful owner or is deemed ready for disposal. The technician ensures that the chain of custody is properly maintained so the integrity of the evidence is not compromised. 

Emergency Management Division

A civilian emergency manager reports directly to the chief of police and is responsible for updating the airport emergency plan, planning and preparing for immediate and coordinated responses to unexpected events, and conducting training exercises to test for emergency preparedness.