Minneapolis Police Find Success Recruiting 'Second Career Cops'

February 25, 2018 11:12 PM

Police departments across the country say recruiting officers right now is a challenge. But the city of Minneapolis has found a way to draw in a particular set of candidates that are eager to gain a spot on the force.

The Minneapolis Police Department's cadet program is attracting an older, more diverse set of recruits, according to spokesperson John Elder.

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"You find people that are making more of a solid decision," Elder said.

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City Council members approved a new contract with Hennepin Technical College to train up to 32 recruits in the department's cadet program. Cadets are candidates with no prior law enforcement training, but who must have a four-year degree.

"We have people who have been realtors, we had a biochemist come in," Elder said.

HTC then provides an eight-month course that satisfies the state of Minnesota's Peace Officer Standards and Training.

Elder said these recruits also tend to be older; the average age of a typical cadet class is close to 30.

"You have a different maturity level of a 30-year-old than you do a 22-year-old that just gets out of the academy," he said.

While those factors do make a difference, MPD said it doesn't guarantee the officer makes it onto the force.

"We have had some people who start the program and have gone through it and said, 'You know, this isn't really what I thought it was going to be,' or, 'I thought this was going to be me and it's just not,'" Elder said.

RELATED: Minneapolis Police Look to Hire Outside Psychologist for Mental Health Screenings

According to the city, the cadets that stay with MPD for at least three years after being sworn in are not responsible for reimbursing the city the cost of the HTC training.

During a February City Council committee meeting, several council members raised concerns about the fast-track program. The department said in addition to the training from HTC, those recruits also go through the department's specific police academy and field training, where the new officers are closely monitored.

Credits

Kirsten Swanson

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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