Lakes, Loons, Living

Public Safety FAQs

See below for more information on Public Safety.

 Where is the Avon Police Department located?

The Avon Police Department is located in the Avon City Hall.  The address is 104 Stratford Street East.  Our mailing address is P.O. Box 195, Avon, MN 56310.  We are two blocks east of the Avon State Bank, or the intersection of Avon Avenue North and Stratford Street East.

 How can I volunteer with the Avon Police Department?

The Avon Police Department currently uses volunteers, the Police Reserve program.  To find out more about this program, call the Avon Police Department at 320-356-7575.

 How can I find out about crime prevention programs?

The Department of Public Safety sponsors numerous crime prevention programs, including Neighborhood Watch, Crime Free Multi-Housing. For more information, contact the Avon Police Department 320-356-7575 during regular business hours.

 What are the curfew laws in the City of Avon?

(1) Minors under the age of 16 years.  No minor under the age of 16 years shall be in or upon the public streets, alleys, parks, playgrounds, or other public grounds, public places, public buildings; nor in or upon places of amusement, entertainment or refreshment; nor in or upon any vacant lot, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. the following day, official city time. 

(2)  Minors ages 16 to 18 years.  No minor of the ages of 16 or 17 years shall be in or upon the public streets, alleys, parks, playgrounds or other public grounds, public places, public building; nor in or upon places of amusement, entertainment or refreshment; nor in or upon any vacant lot, between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 5:00 a.m. the following day, official city time.

 Do solicitors register with the Avon Police Department?

Yes, solicitors must contact the Avon Police Department for a permit to solicit.  A background check is performed before permission is given to proceed.  If a solicitor has been given a permit by the State of Minnesota a local permit is not required.

 What are the City of Avon Winter parking regulations?

The Mayor, Police Chief or other designated official may declare a snow emergency in the city.  The emergency shall continue in effect for a period of 24 hours or until the snow has been removed from the city's streets or until the snow emergency has been rescinded by action of the Mayor, Police Chief or other designated officer.  It shall also be unlawful for any person to park on any city street during any time at which more than 2 inches of fresh snow has accumulated until such time as the snow removal crews have cleared the roadway.

 Can you snowmobile in the City of Avon?

Yes, snowmobiling is allowed on designated trails.  The Lake Wobegon Trail is the main trail in Avon.  The trail goes through the middle of the City and connects to St. Cloud and Alexandria.  There are also a variety of sub trails that lead to the main trail.  Please observe the local rules and regulations on snowmobiling and be courteous to land owners.  Snowmobiling is prohibited in city parks.

 Is hunting allowed in the City of Avon?

No hunting or discharge of firearms is allowed in the corporate limits of the City of Avon.  There are numerous hunting areas surrounding the Avon area.  You must own the land or have written permission to hunt.  Information on public hunting ground can be obtained at the Department of Natural Resources.

 What is the difference between being arrested and being charged with a crime?

There is little difference between being arrested and charged with a crime.  In both cases a complaint is made, an investigation is done based on the complaint.  In the case of being arrested, a person is taken into custody and placed in jail.  In the case of being charged with a crime, a sumons or citation may be issued instead of being placed in jail.  Also, in the case of being charged with a crime, the case is sent to the City of County Attorney's Office for a complaint to be written.

 How can I get a copy of a police report? How much are reports?

You can request reports in person, in writing, via e-mail or by fax.  If you wish to have the reports sent to you, a valid address must be provided.  Each request will be reviewed and the department will provide the reports within a reasonable amount of time and/or within up to ten days, or an explanation will be provided as to the amount of time needed.  The cost for receiving a report(s) is $.25 per page (front and back of one piece of paper is 2 pages) up to 100 pages. If the report exceeds 100 pages, a cost estimate will be provided.  If the report is being mailed, postage will be added to the cost of the report.

 How can I check on my own criminal history and how much does it cost? How can I obtain a copy of my own criminal history record?

The Avon Police Department is not authorized to provide you with your criminal history record.  You may request a printed copy of your own criminal history record by writing or visiting the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) office.  You will receive both public and private data.  Written requests must include:  Full name with correct spelling, date of birth, and any other names used, including maiden and former married names.  Enclose a personal check, money order, cashier's check, certified or business check, for $8.00 made payable to the BCA.  Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.  Response time for mail requests is approximately two weeks.  The mailing address is:  Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Criminal Justice Information Systems-CHA, 1430 Maryland Avenue East, St. Paul, MN 55106.  If you wish to view your criminal history record, the BCA lobby hours in St. Paul are 8:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, closed on holidays.  You will need to provide some acceptable form of identification, e.g. driver's license.  Fingerprints may be required to verify your identiy.  There is no fee charged to view your records, however there is an $8.00 fee for a printed copy.  Call the BCA at 651-793-2400 from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM if you need additional information.  And for further information and FAQ via the internet.

 What should I do with found property?

The law requires a person to make a reasonable effort to return found property.  This is to prevent stolen items from being claimed as "found".  It also protects the finder from the possibility of possessing stolen property that was found legitimately.  By making a reasonable effort, it eliminates the possibility of a criminal charge against a finder for possessing stolen property.  Making a reasonable effort to return found property can be accomplished a couple of different ways. 

One way a reasonable effort can be made is by running an ad in the local newspaper.   This method however could cause aggravation to the finder who may receive false claims for the property.  Another way to make a reasonable effort would be to turn the property over to police custody.  There are three advantages when turning found property over to the police.  

First Advantage!  The finder does not have to deal with false claims nor does the finder need to give out personal information such as a phone number or address to a person making a claim to the property.

Second Advantage!  Submitting the property to the police gives the rightful owner a chance of regaining their property back.  Found property will be held for 90 days.  If it is not claimed during that period of time, the police will contact the finder and return the found property to them if they want it.  The police watch for recent and incoming theft reports to see if any reported stolen property matches the property you found

Third Advantage!  If the property was not matched to a victim and remains unclaimed, after 90 days have passed you will have a legitimate claim to the property.  A valid paper trail is on record at the police department showing you made a reasonable effort to get the property returned to its rightful owner.  If the found property is unclaimed, you will be contacted by the police and asked if you are still interested in the property.  If you do not want the property it is destroyed if damaged or has no significant value (usually less than $5.00)  If the property has some significant value and the finder still does not want it, then it is placed in the city auction.  

 What kind of found property has been turned over to the police?

We have handled everything from thousands of dollars in cash to large portable generators.  The more common items are purses, wallets, small amounts of cash, drugs, stereos, hand tools, eye glasses, and keys.  The most common item reported as "found" are bicycles!

 Where do I go to check whether or not my lost/stolen bike has been recovered?

Stop in at the police department located two blocks east of the Avon State Bank on Stratford Street East.

 Do officers have a ticket quota?

No! Officers are allowed to write as many tickets as they want. (Just a little cop humor here).   Actually, a state law exists identified as MN Statute 169.985 that specifically states, "Traffic citation quota prohibited." 

Traffic citation quotas probably started in the early days of law enforcement because it was an easy way for supervisors to measure the performance and work level of officers.  Traffic was not managed as well on our highways then as it is now and traffic enforcement was considered to be a primary job of the officer.  However, over the years the focus of law enforcement has changed radically and traffic enforcement is no longer the only criteria performance is based upon.  

Better job understanding and increased supervisory skills allow supervisors to now measure work performance using a wide range of job tasks.  They no longer rely on how many tickets an officer writes as a measuring tool of performance.  

So..., when an officer issues you a traffic citation, it is most certainly because he/she felt the situation warranted such action.  Asking the officer, "are you trying to fill your quota" will only make them smile .

 What exactly is an "open bottle"?

This is an older question that has been around for years.  Many people think if a 6-pack or a case that originally contained 24 cans of beer are missing one or more containers from the pack, this constitutes "open bottle".  That idea is not correct!   "Open bottle" means that the seal on a can or bottle of an alcoholic beverage has been broken and you are able to access the contents inside the bottle or can.   If the seal on liquor bottles has been broken, then it is considered to be an "open bottle" even if the cap is screwed back on and all the contents are present. 

The purpose of the law is to discourage drinking and driving.   If you do find yourself with an open bottle, make sure you place it in the trunk area of your vehicle prior to leaving private property with the vehicle.  If a trunk is not present on the vehicle (example: station wagons and pick-ups), then by law, the driver must ensure that the opened alcoholic beverage is in the rearmost portion of the vehicle that is most inaccessible from the driver and any passengers. 

 I don't have any prior violations. Why didn't I just get a warning?

First of all, if an officer would only give warnings to someone with no prior violations on their record, then nothing but warnings would ever be given.  This is because previous warning tickets do not show up on a driving record.  Therefore, an officer has no way of knowing whether or not the driver may have received a warning in another town for some offense.  

When tickets are issued, it is based upon many different factors.   An officer takes all of these factors into consideration when making a determination whether to issue a warning or a citation.  These factors include considering the actual violation, the location of the violation, the driver's record, and also the driver's attitude.  Let's take a look at each of these areas and see how it may or may not affect a citation being issued.  We'll use speeding as an example since it is such a common argued offense.

Actual Violation as a Factor - An officer must consider the actual violation.  At what point should the absolute line be drawn?   1mph, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 mph over the posted limit?  Each one of these is only one mile per hour more than the previous number.  If a violator wants an absolute line drawn, then our job is easy... the line is drawn at the posted speed level.   However, luckily for motorists, officers are allowed to exercise discretion when making a decision as to whether or not a ticket should be issued.  This leads us into the other factors an officer considers.

Location of the Violation - An officer considers location as a issuing factor also.  5 mph over the posted speed limit around a school or construction zone is obviously more dangerous than a wide street designed to handle large volumes of traffic with little chance of pedestrians being present.  Road conditions may be considered also.  Ice, packed snow, heavy rain, and a multitude of other road surface conditions are taken into account.  Other factors such as daytime or nighttime lighting, visibility, and traffic volume need to be considered.

Driving Record - A person with a lengthy driving record indicates someone who has less respect for our laws and society.  This person poses a greater danger to others on the roadway.  Giving this type of driver a break only enforces their mentality that violating the law is "no big deal" and actually encourages future driving violations.

Attitude - Now you really would think that attitude has nothing to do with the actual facts and circumstances of the traffic violation.  However, it plays an important role in the determination as to whether to cite or warn.  Drivers have been pulled over many times only to make statements that the only reason they were speeding is because they "were upset".  Current emotional attitude affected their driving. Attitude toward the officer may also make an officer decide to issue a citation rather than warn.  Why would an officer warn a driver who swears, loudly argues, or threatens the officer?  This type of behavior/attitude only displays a lack of respect for the law that the officer is trying to enforce.   Someone who disrespects the law certainly is not going to make future attempts to abide by it.  Issuing a warning in these circumstances would be a total waste of time.

The next time you hear two people discussing traffic stops they were involved in or that they "heard about" and they are wondering why one friend got a warning for 10 mph over and the other received a citation please educate them.  No two speeding instances have ever been exactly the same.  The speed each driver was traveling at might be the same but as you can see, this factor is only a small part of the whole picture.

 Where do I go to get a handgun permit?

Are you talking a permit to purchase/acquire or a permit to carry a handgun in public?

Permit to Purchase/Acquire a Handgun: A permit to purchase/acquire can be obtained by stopping at the Avon Police Department. The application is approximately four pages in length.

You must apply for the permit in the jurisdiction you reside in.  This is determined by the address listed on your current drivers license at the time of application.  After completing your application return it to the Stearns County Sheriff's Department.  It will be reviewed by either the Chief of Police or the Sheriff depending on the jurisdiction of the address listed on the application.  If the address on your application does not match the address on your drivers license, your application will be denied. 

Processing your application takes approximately 7-10 business days.  Processing the application consists of a check for criminal records, outstanding warrants, and a mental health background check.  The application process and the permit itself are free and there is no cost to the applicant for this type of permit. This permit is valid for one year. 

Permit to Carry a Handgun in Public: A permit to carry a handgun in public can be obtained by stopping at the Stearns County Sheriff's Department.

 How fast can I drive without getting stopped?

This is very similar to asking what kind of stock you should buy in the stock market.  It all depends on how much risk you are willing to accept.  1-5 mph over the posted speed limit is considered fairly low risk.  Each mile per hour speed increase over that amount increases your risk exponentially.  At 10 mph over the posted limit, you are almost begging for a ticket. 

Another factor you need to consider is, "how accurate is your speedometer?"  You may think you are at a fairly safe risk level for being stopped when traveling at 6 mph over the posted limit.  What happens if your speedometer happens to be off by 5 mph reading slower than your real speed?  Oh oh, now your trying to figure out why you are getting a ticket for 11 mph over the posted limit! 

Trust me, the excuses of "I just put on new oversized tires" or "my speedometer must be off" are about as worn out as officers saying "have a nice day" after they hand you the ticket.  Another almost standard line is, "I couldn't have been speeding.  I set my cruise at 64 mph".  Hmm... now what's wrong with that statement?  Unless you enjoy paying fines, please slow down and drive according to law.  Don't complain to the officer that stops you.  They are not the ones sitting in your car pressing the accelerator.

 What type of motorscooter, motorbike, moped, skateboard or other similar device can I use on the road and what are the requirements?

New ideas have allowed us to create devices that provide convenience and fun.  Unfortunately, this can sometimes get us into trouble.  Take for example the new (and wide variety) of power assisted motor scooters, trikes, bikes, skateboards and other miniature motorcycle look-alikes.  While very convenient and certainly fun, many of these devices are not legal to use on public roadways and sidewalks.

The State of Minnesota recognizes and defines six different devices that are similar in nature but different in legality.  If the device you are considering does not fit under one of the definitions, it definitely cannot be used on roadways and streets.  Even if it is defined, it is possible that it still is restricted to private property only.   What is legal and what is not?  There are four main things to consider.  1. The ability to register or license the device.  2. Insurance requirements.  3. Special operator requirements.?  4. Whether or not the device can it be ridden on a roadway or other public property?

Here is a quick guide to assist you when making a purchasing decision and/or a later mistake riding the device you choose.  Key words in the definitions will be highlighted in red.  Pictured examples next to each definition will help you identify the device however there are many similarities so please make an informed purchase.


·     Definition:  means every motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, including motor scooters and bicycles with motor attached, other than those vehicles defined as motorized bicycles. (MN Statute 169.01 subd. 4).

·      Registration Required:  Yes  (MN Statute 168.011 subd. 26).

·      Insurance Needed:  Yes  (MN Statute 65B.43).

·      Operator Requirements:  Must have driver’s license with motorcycle endorsement/permit.  Subject to additional rules and regulations. 

·      Operate on bike path:  No.

·      Operate on Roadway:  Yes, when complying with regular motorist driving rules and other motorcycle restrictions.

·      Operate on side walk:  No.



Motorized Bicycle

 ·     Definition:  means a bicycle that is propelled by a motor of a piston displacement capacity of 50 cubic centimeters or less, and a maximum of two brake horsepower, which is capable of a maximum speed of not more than 30 miles per hour on a flat surface with not more than one percent grade in any direction when the motor is engaged.  "Motorized bicycle" includes an electric-assisted bicycle. (MN Statute 169.01 subd. 4a).

·     Registration Required:  Yes  (MN Statute 168.011 subd. 27).

·     Insurance Needed:  Yes  (MN Statute 65B.13 and 65B.001 subd. 5).

·     Operator Requirements:  Must have driver’s license or a motorized bicycle permit which is issued only to persons age 15 or older.  Subject to additional rules and regulations. 

·     Operate on Roadway:  Yes, on the far right hand side and when complying with regular motorist driving rules and other motorcycle restrictions.

·      Operate on bike path:  No.

·      Operate on side walk:  No.


Motorized Foot Scooter

·     Definition:  means a device with handlebars designed to be stood or sat upon by the operator, and powered by an internal combustion engine or electric motor that is capable of propelling the device with or without human propulsion, and that has either (1) no more than two ten-inch or smaller diameter  wheels or (2) an engine or motor that is capable of a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour on a flat surface with not more than one percent grade in any direction when the motor is engaged.  An electric personal assistive mobility device, a motorized bicycle, an electric-assisted bicycle, or a motorcycle is not a motorized foot scooter.

·     Registration Required:  No

·     Insurance Needed:  No (MN Statute(s) 65B.13, 65B.001 subd. 5 and 65b.41).

·     Operator Requirements:  Must be at least 12 years old.  Needs to wear a helmet if under age 18.

·     Operate on Roadway:  Yes, on the far right hand side and while complying with regular motorist driving rules and other motorcycle restrictions.  Cannot operate on a sidewalk. Cannot have a passenger.

·      Operate on Bike path:  No.

·      Operate on Side walk:  No.


Electric Assisted Bicycle

·     Definition:  means a motor vehicle with two or three wheels that:  (1) has a saddle and fully operable pedals for human propulsion;  (2) meets the requirements of Federal motor vehicle safety standards in Code of Federal Regulations, title 49, sections 571.01 et seq.; and  (3) has an electric motor that (i) has a power output of not more than 1,000 watts, (ii) is incapable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of more than 20 miles per hour, (iii) is incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power alone is used to propel the vehicle at a speed of more than 20 miles per hour, and (iv) disengages or ceases to function when the vehicle's brakes are applied.  (MN Statute 169.01 subd. 4b).

·     Registration Required:  Yes  (MN Statute 168.011 subd. 27).

·     Insurance Needed:  No (MN Statute(s) 65B.13, 65B.001 subd. 5 and 65b.41).

·     Operator Requirements:  Must have driver’s license or a motorized bicycle permit which is issued only to persons age 15 or older.  Subject to additional rules and regulations. 

·     Operate on Roadway:  Yes, on the far right hand side and when complying with regular motorist driving rules and other motorcycle restrictions.

·      Operate on Bike path:  No.

·      Operate on Side walk:  No.


Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device

·     Definition:  means a self-balancing device with two non-tandem wheels, designed to transport not more than one person, and operated by an electric propulsion system that limits the maximum speed of the device to 15 miles per hour. (MN Statute 169.01 subd. 90).

·     Registration Required:  No  (MN Statute 168.011 subd. 4d).

·     Insurance Needed:  No (MN Statute(s) 65B.13, 65B.001 subd. 5 and 65b.41).

·     Operator Requirements:  No license or permit required to operate. 

·     Operate on Roadway:  Only under certain restrictive conditions.  See MN Statute 169.212

·     Operate on Bike path:  No.

·     Operate on Side walk:  Yes, but must yield to pedestrians.


 Wheel Chair

·    Definition:  includes any manual or motorized wheelchair, scooter, tricycle, or similar device used by a disabled person as a substitute for walking.  (MN Statute 169.01 subd. 24a).

·    Registration Required:  No  (MN Statute 168a.03).

·    Insurance Needed:  No

·   Operator Requirements:  Must be disabled as defined by MN Statute 169.345

·   Operate on Roadway:  Only when operated as pedestrian complying with pedestrian laws.

·   Operate on Bike path:  No.

·   Operate on Side walk:  Yes.


 ·   Definition:  means every device propelled solely by human power upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, except scooters and similar devices, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or rear wheels.  (MN Statute 169.01 subd. 51).

·    Registration Required:  Depends upon political subdivision.  See MN Statute 168C.13.

·    Insurance Needed:  No

·    Operator Requirements:  None.  Safety helmet recommended.

·    Operate on Roadway:  Yes, but must comply with regular motorist driving rules.

·   Operate on Bike path:  Yes.

·   Operate on Side walk:  Yes but must yield to pedestrians.



Examples of devices that are not currently legal to operate on roadways and streets along with common names they are referred to as:

Gas Skateboard


Mini-Motorcycle / Mini-Chopper


Pocket Rocket


We want to help you make an informed purchasing decision and keep the fun in your riding experience while remaining safe and legal.

Official Website of Avon, Minnesota | 320-356-7922