In the spring of 2017, the St. Paul Police Department began a new journey in addressing the needs of the community related to the mentally distressed citizens of St. Paul Minnesota. With a national precedent of apparent tragedies where offenders had previous contact with law enforcement on the rise, the agency sought to address the intervention process to further prevent these types of incidents from occurring in St Paul. With early intervention and assessment of individuals and taking action to get these persons the help they need, the agency wanted to create a Mental Health Unit to spearhead to research and compile a plan of action for addressing these concerns. During the search process for officers who would be willing to do the research, form a plan of action, educate their fellow officers, and actually form a specialized unit within the department to carry out the mission, Police Officer Jamie Sipes' name and reputation filtered to the forefront. He was assigned the task of creating the Mental Health Unit, recruiting fellow officers with the experience and heart for the challenge. Jamie was promoted to Sargent and empowered with the resources to get the project up and running.
Mr. Sipes is a 23-year veteran of law enforcement. Jamie began his career as a police officer with the Ames Police Department in Iowa. During his five years in Ames he served as a department trainer, hostage negotiator and instituted a traffic safety program. In 2000, Jamie started with the St. Paul Police Department in Minnesota. He has served in a variety of assignments including the Patrol Division, GRID (targeting problem properties and street level crimes), Traffic Unit, Motors Unit, and the Forensic Services Unit. While in the Traffic Unit, Jamie was assigned to a DWI targeted enforcement tour. Additionally, he completed a number of advanced traffic crash investigation and reconstruction courses with IPTM. His experience also extended into the department’s Forensic Unit. He has testified as an expert in the areas of crime scene reconstruction and bloodstain pattern analysis.
In addition to his responsibilities as the Mental Health Unit Sargent, Jamie is also a member of the Crisis Negotiation Team and co-lead instructor of the department’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training program. He has designed an enhanced CIT program to advance officers’ knowledge and understanding of mental health, wellness and illness. Jamie is currently assigned as the Mental Health Unit Coordinator.