Minnesota Department of Corrections
AUTHORITY: Minn. Stat. §241.01, subd. 3a (h)
PURPOSE: To establish procedures and consistent standards for Minnesota correctional facilities (MCF) to have an honor/color guard or memory guard.
APPLICABILITY: Minnesota Department of Correction (DOC); all facilities
DIRECTIVE: Each MCF may establish a uniformed honor/color guard or utilize memory guard participants to represent the department at authorized functions. In the event of the death of a current or retired DOC employee, the deceased person's family may request a uniformed honor/color guard or memory guard at the wake, funeral, or memorial service.
Honor/color guard - a team of corrections officers performing ceremonial duties at a wake, funeral, memorial services, serving as pallbearers, folding the flag at gravesites, ground breaking, academy graduations, dedications, retirements, parades, and other DOC or community functions as requested. The team of officers are selected and trained as honor/color guard unit and are proficient in procedures and the protocol of the honor/color guard. As determined by the warden/designee, this detail may be considered work time and employees may be compensated for hours worked/expenses incurred pursuant to labor agreements.
Honor/color guard coordinator - a member of the team (supervisory and above) selected by the warden/designee to oversee all administrative duties, selection of team members, training, maintaining equipment, and coordinate all team activations, etc.
Memory guard - one or more corrections officers who are selected by the warden/designee to participate in posting at the funeral home, memorial services, or serving as pallbearer(s). These volunteers are not required to be members of the honor/color guard. No specific training is required to participate in this detail. This detail is on a volunteer basis only and the participants are not compensated for hours worked/expenses incurred.
A. Command structure:
1. Honor/color guard:
a) The honor/color guard team consists of a minimum of six members, including five team members and the coordinator.
b) The honor/color guard coordinator oversees the honor/color guard team members. Request for services must be directed to the coordinator and he/she coordinates instructions to the team regarding time and location of detail, and activities to be performed. The warden/designee must give final approval for any honor/color guard detail.
c) The honor/color guard does not discharge any firearm, for example salutes.
2. Memory guard:
a) The family of a deceased DOC active/retired staff may request certain officers who were friends of the deceased to participate in the memory guard.
b) There is no command structure for the memory guard, other than these individuals volunteer to participate upon approval by the warden/designee.
B. Selection criteria:
1. Honor/color guard:
a) Must be a non-probationary uniformed staff who has completed one year of service with the DOC.
b) Must have no discipline in the employee’s personnel file.
c) Must fully meet or exceed standards on performance reviews.
d) Must be willing to commit to the team for at least three years.
e) Must be available on short notice to perform in honor/color guard activities.
f) Must maintain physical appearance and decorum projecting a professional image.
g) Must be able to march and stand for extended periods.
h) Members must possess teamwork skills and strive towards uniformity.
2. Memory guard:
a) The participants must volunteer and be approved by the warden/designee.
b) This detail is on a volunteer basis only and the participants are not compensated for hours worked/expenses incurred.
1. Honor/color guard:
a) Honor/color guard teams wear a long-sleeve corrections officer uniform. Team members are responsible to maintain uniforms in clean, pressed, and presentable condition at all times.
b) Additional honor/color guard uniform items:
(1) White gloves;
(2) Blue uniform tie or gold ascot (all team members wear the same item); and
(3) Gold/blue shoulder tassel/cord.
c) Honor/color guard team equipment:
(1) Two flag holder belts (white);
(2) Two mock rifles;
(3) One U.S. flag on carrying pole;
(4) One Minnesota state flag on carrying pole; and
(5) Two flag mounts.
2. Memory guard uniform: memory guard teams wear the standard DOC corrections officer long-sleeve uniform, including blue DOC tie. The memory guard participants are responsible to wear a uniform that is clean, pressed, and presentable.
D. Retention/termination and completion of service for honor/color guard:
1. The facility honor/color guard coordinator must annually review each member of the honor/color guard and recommend whether to continue the member on the team for another year.
2. Members may be removed from service for failure to maintain compliance with any of the criteria listed in this policy. Members may reapply once the appropriate criteria are met.
3. Members receive a certificate of service and a copy of the certificate is placed in the employee's supervisory file.
4. At the completion of a member's tour of service with the honor/color guard, the member is required to turn in all equipment and additional uniform items listed in Procedure C.
E. Training: all honor/color guard members train as needed.
A. If a request is made for a memory guard or honor/color guard services, a confidential incident report is written and the request is discussed with the warden/designee to determine if services can be provided.
B. If services are approved, a confidential incident report must be written to include all the specific information on the event and services rendered. If services are not approved, this is documented on the incident report, with the reasons for the denial.
C. Only mock rifles are used for the event and no firearms are discharged by the members of the honor/color guard.
SUPERSESSION: Division Directive 103.2217, “Honor/Color Guard and Memory Guard,” 1/3/12.
All facility policies, memos, or other communications whether verbal, written, or transmitted by electronic means, regarding this topic.
Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Facility Services