Police Department

Problem Solving

The Duluth Police Department is known for solving problems. We’ve been nationally recognized for our innovative programs that took out-of-the-box thinking to find solutions. Below is a snapshot of some of our most recognized initiatives:

Mental Health Unit

The Mental Health Unit began as a way to address the numerous responses to mental health calls in Duluth. At the time, officers were out of tools to help people in crisis. The ER was overloaded and the jail certainly wasn’t the solution. So an officer and a homeless advocate teamed up to work together to get individuals to the right resources. After several years of continued success, the program became official and expanded to a unit commander, two officers, and an embedded social worker. Since its inception in 2018, we have seen a 31% drop in calls for service among those with the most frequent contact with police.


The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative or SAKI is a collaboration between PAVSA, the Duluth Police Department, and the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office. The purpose of the project is the elimination of the backlog of un-submitted sexual assault kits held by the Duluth Police Department. If you are interested in learning more about SAKI, contact Mary Faulkner, Site Coordinator at 218/730-5452.


Mending the Sacred Hoop

Native women are the highest victimized population in the United States by perpetrators of all races. (Bureau of Crime Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice. American Indians and Crime Report. Washington: 1999). Mending the Sacred Hoop is an initiative we worked closely on with our Native American community. It’s a nationally recognized initiative that works to change society to end violence against Native women.


The Duluth Model

The Duluth Model began in 1980 when eleven agencies in the Duluth community agreed to formally work together to end violence against women. The Duluth Model is a collaborative effort that works to change the behavior of abusers, rather than ending the abusive relationship. The model listens to the voices of victims to bring about programs that translate their experiences into innovative programs that result in change in abusive behavior. Communities around the world have replicated the Duluth Model.