Road to Becoming a Police Officer Unique in Minnesota

July 19, 2017 07:31 PM

The road to becoming a police officer is unique in Minnesota.

The state is the only one in the country that requires officers to meet certain higher standards.

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"Minnesota is the only state that has officers complete a two-or-four-year college, professional police officer education and skills training," criminal justice professor Dr. James Densley said.

Densley said the skills training requires them to pass defensive and firearms tactics.

Officers also have to complete 600 learning objectives in their academic coursework.

"You've gone through all that training and education, and you are still only eligible for a license," Densley said. "You are not licensed. The only way you are licensed is by being hired by an agency."

He said the idea is more education and better preparation for the job. Officers also have to go through six months of field training with supervisory officers who mentor and teach them on the job.

If they don't pass that field training, they don't get on the force.

This is the intense training Minneapolis officers Matthew Harrity and Mohamed Noor had to go through to work for Minneapolis Police Department. Harrity was on the force for a year and Noor had almost two years under his belt.  

They worked together last Saturday night, responding to a call of a possible sexual assault. Justine Damond called 911 and ran out to meet the officers when they pulled into the alley.

Harrity said loud noises startled Noor, and he fired from inside the passenger seat when Damond banged on the officer's cruiser window.

Damond died.

"How and why it happened, it's difficult to tell," Densley said. "A woman is dead because she was shot by a weapon carried by a police officer. Everyone is looking for somebody to blame and accountability and apology."

Officers often work in a two-person team in bigger city departments like Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Two newer officers could end up on working together because they are on the same shift and are assigned to cover the same territory.

Most often, senior officers don't work nights and weekends. Newer officers cut their teeth on the job.

Minneapolis police do not have a policy that newer officers cannot work together.

Densley said they are dispatched where they are needed most and they learn the ropes with experience.

"Rookie officers may be bring a new vitality to law enforcement, they are also the most recently trained and they might be well-prepared to do the job," he said.

He believes it may not be the quantity, but the quality of the training that decides how an officer responds.    

Credits

Farrah Fazal

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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