Amid shortages, Golden Valley Police making strides in staffing

Amid shortages, Golden Valley Police making strides in staffing

Amid shortages, Golden Valley Police making strides in staffing

The Golden Valley Police Department currently has less than half of the officers they are budgeted for but efforts are underway to fill those positions. In recent years, many officers left the department, some officers blamed failed leadership. However, last year, an investigation by the city alleged a “toxic workplace culture,” which led to at least one officer’s termination.

Last week, two new officers joined the force in Golden Valley and several more are expected to do the same, according to Golden Valley Police Chief Virgil Green.

Golden Valley is currently budgeted for 31 officers; Green says, as of now, the city has 13 officers with a goal to have at least 18 to 20 officers within a month or so. Green says only about half of those cops would actually be out on patrol. He notes some of their new candidates are pulled from programs like Community Service Officers, or CSO.

“Community Service Officers, they are going through school to get their degrees. So the city is actually paying for those officers to go to school, and they’re actually working here in Golden Valley or any other city,” Green said. “Here in Golden Valley, they’re actually responding to calls, it may be a loud music call, it may be a medical call. So they’re getting some very valuable training.”

The city has also been offering a $10,000 incentive to new officers joining the ranks as well as lateral officers. The payout spreads throughout one year.

In addition, the agency is partnering with different groups like the Latino Police Officers Association in hopes of building more relationships and recruiting men and women who want to get into the profession.

“Having that partnership with those associations is really going to help diversify Golden Valley Police Department much more now,” Green said.

He adds that because Golden Valley is a smaller department, it offers more opportunities to incoming officers.

“Whether it’s, you know, becoming a sergeant, we have a drone unit, who would ever think you can come to a police department to become a certified pilot to fly drones. We’re looking at also expanding our bike patrol unit,” Green said. “Investigations is another division where we’re looking for experienced detectives to come in.”

The police chief says the city isn’t only getting one or two applications but multiple, which is a good sign.

“I think someone shared with me that the Minnesota Post Board has over 150 departments who have postings, so everybody is trying to recruit and our recruiting efforts are really paying off,” he said.

Currently, the city is using Hennepin County deputies to help patrol streets. Green says he is confident the city won’t need to extend its contract with the county when it expires in December.