How do I address a patrol officer?


From: Sgt. Troy Christianson
Minnesota State Patrol

Question: What is the proper way to address a patrol officer, if the rank is unknown?

Answer: This is a good question and really depends on the law-enforcement organization. Here are the ways to address a law-enforcement member from each organization below if you’re uncertain of their rank:

• State Patrol – trooper
• Local/municipal agency – officer
• Sheriff’s office – deputy
• Department of Natural Resources – officer

With the Minnesota State Patrol, the colonel leads the organization, followed by the lieutenant colonel. The command staff is further filled out with majors, captains, lieutenants and sergeants. The troopers are the first rank and make up the largest contingent in the organization.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota toward zero deaths.
If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester, Minn., 55901-5848. You may also reach him at


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