MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota’s police licensing authority is strengthening its standards of professional conduct for the first time in more than 20 years.

The Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training approved changes Thursday that would add assault, domestic assault or drunken driving to the list of convictions that would require a state licensing hearing. Those charges are all misdemeanors.

State law already has automatic revocation for felonies and theft charges. Misdemeanor assault convictions already bar people from becoming officers, so the change would apply to current license holders.

Opponents of the move say the changes are cosmetic since they rarely apply to on-duty behavior that directly impacts on the public. Supporters say the new standards send the right message.

It’s the first time the board has toughened standards since 1995.

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