Superior adds honesty to police job standards

The change to police job descriptions adds standards that are already present in department policy.

File: Superior Police Department.jpg
Superior Police Department squads sit outside the Government Center in 2018.
Jed Carlson / 2018 File / Superior Telegram

SUPERIOR — All police officers must have the ability to “maintain the unencumbered ability to credibly testify in court, attest to documents, and request and obtain warrants” under a proposed change to the job descriptions of all sworn officers in the Superior Police Department.

Affected job descriptions include police and master officers, detectives and master detectives, sergeants, lieutenants, captains, assistant chiefs and the police chief.

The city's Human Resources Committee approved modifying the job descriptions Monday, March 20. The measure does not need approval from the city council, as the committee has the authority to amend job descriptions.

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“It would kind of sound like something everyone would expect a police officer to be able to do,” said Superior Police Chief Nicholas Alexander. “We want officers to have honesty and integrity. We have other policy in the department that really does cover those things, but we thought it should be something that's in the job description.”

Two court cases — Brady v. Maryland and Giglio v. United States — require prosecutors to disclose evidence that could cast doubt on the accuracy of law enforcement witnesses during discovery.


Assistant Police Chief John Kiel introduced the new standard to the city's Police and Fire Commission March 9.

Kiel said it would make it difficult for an officer to continue in their position if an internal investigation or some other matter revealed an officer was lying.

“You can’t be trusted to sign a search warrant,” Kiel said. “You can’t be trusted to sign an affidavit. It makes it very difficult to testify in court; it makes it very difficult for the prosecutor to do their job.”

The additional standard in the job description would not deny officers their right to due process with the police and fire commission if the department takes disciplinary action against them for dishonesty, Kiel said.

“In all positions, our officers need to be honest and have the ability to testify in court,” Alexander said.

Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or
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