Officer Scott J. Dahlquist

Scott J. Dahlquist retired after 26 years of “outstanding service to the Minneapolis Police Department” (at least that’s what his retirement plaque says) on May 17, 2014, after serving primarily as a patrol officer in the 4th Precinct, but also successfully completing short term assignments in the Robbery, Sex Crimes, Juvenile, Financial Crimes, and Precinct Investigative Units; as well as serving in the SAFE Unit and for two years as the 4th Precinct’s CODEFOR coordinator.

I find that retirement suits me well.  I am active with volunteer activities with my church and Boy Scouts, and work occasionally as a program assistant with the law enforcement program at Hennepin Technical College.  As a program assistant I assist the instructors by role playing in a scenario they design, and then offer feedback to the students about their performance.

During my career I came really close to shooting a person only once; two drunks started fighting each other in front of 1010 Currie when one of them pulled out a knife and was about to stab the other, I ordered him to drop his knife at gunpoint, and he did.  I then arrested him for a felony assault, but he was only charged with a misdemeanor when the “victim” couldn’t be located. Also, I was attacked by large dogs three separate times, firing a total of five rounds from my handgun, killing two and wounding one.

One of my most favorite memories:  I was part of an arrest team for a protest at the federal court house against the second gulf war.  About two dozen students sat down and refused to leave, and were then arrested and put on an MTC bus in buildings garage to be transported to the jail.  I was on the bus with them, and after the initial tension subsided they began to sing various protest songs.  One of them invited me to sing along, and I replied “I‘ve taken the Queen’s shilling lad, wouldn’t be appropriate for me to do so.”  If you want me to explain the historical context of this remark I would be glad to do so.

Advice for someone just starting out:  There are four distinct areas that threats to your career and life can come from, and that all have to be managed differently.

The first is of course the external threats; people who will try and hurt or kill with you guns, knives, hands, feet, cars, blunt instruments, and various other devices.  There is a great deal of information out there about how to recognize and deal with these, read up on them.

The second area is your own department.  There may come a time in your career where your interest and theirs are in conflict.  Avoid this as much as possible by doing your best to ensure that your actions are in compliance with the law, department policy, the latest court rulings about what constitutes reasonable behavior, and the work direction of your supervisors (caution:  the longer you are on the more irksome that last will become as people with far less experience and sometimes less ability are promoted over you).  If it can’t be avoided, then some things can only be endured with as much dignity and grace as you can muster, and realizing that although you may not be able to make a situation better, it always possible to make it worse.

The third is your own co-workers.  You will find some really great brothers and sisters in arms, you will take a bullet for them, and they will take one for you; you will also encounter a few great schmucks, who will only be revealed after fact.  This is perhaps the hardest threat to deal with of all.

The last is your own internal landscape.  The path of least resistance is to give into bitterness, despair, and cynicism; and to seek solace in alcohol, drugs, and/or personally reckless behavior.  Try and find something away from the job that gives you hope and a positive outlook, for this job and any police department will slowly grind the positive out of you.

Lastly, remember that as important as this job is and as important as you think you are, the only thing any us are destined to be is a picture on a wall and a bit player in someone else’s war story.

Look me up via Linked-in if you want to get in touch with me.