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HOW ARE WE RECRUITING AND TRAINING POLICE OFFICERS AND HAVE THERE BEEN CHANGES?
Police recruitment and training have changed significantly in the past ten years, as the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), responding to public pressure, has sought to increase the diversity of its recruits and improve police training. Improved training has also been required to comply with new state standards of the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board and/or required by the State Legislature.
Police recruitment is a top issue in Minneapolis because the MPD is still dramatically short of officers due to the loss of over 300 officers since 2020 (see question on police staffing LINK TO 1.3). The MPD has three programs to recruit candidates:
- Police Officer – Recruits: Candidates who have a law enforcement degree and the POST certification
- Police Officer – Cadets: Candidates who have not completed the necessary education to be eligible for the POST Board certification. The cadets receive pay while they go to school, complete skills training courses, and take the POST exam
- Community Service Officer (CSO): Candidates work 30-40 hours per week while enrolled in a two-year law enforcement program and/or work toward completing the POST licensing
Recruitment is the MPD’s opportunity to diversify its officers and comply with the city’s goals for diversity and racial equity. The cadet and CSO recruitment programs allow for those from communities without the ability to pay for the expensive education required under POST standards to pursue a law enforcement career.
In March 2021, the mayor and MPD leaders announced new recruitment priorities for incoming MPD recruits. Applicants with the following attributes receive added weight when applying:
- experience in social service
- live in Minneapolis
- volunteer experience
- education and on-the-job training in social service, mental health, and substance abuse counseling
Adding women to the police force was a priority for Former Police Chief Janee Harteau as well as addressing sexism within the department.
In Minnesota, the POST Board sets the standards for police officer training, both for pre-licensure educational programs and continuing education. Training includes defensive tactics, report writing, ethics, traffic enforcement, crime scene investigation, community policing, and defensive driving.
Training and continuing education requirements have been added in new areas, including:
- crisis intervention and mental illness crises
- conflict management and mediation
- recognizing implicit bias
- valuing community diversity and cultural differences
- opioid response
In 2019, the city of Minneapolis and in 2020 the state of Minnesota banned warrior-style police training for police officers, which has been criticized for encouraging police to be in a paranoid frame of mind while on duty, resulting in the use of excessive force. The state legislation also banned the use of chokeholds by police in all but the most extreme situations.
In June 2020, a temporary restraining order, requested by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR), ordered the MPD to:
- completely ban chokeholds and neck restraints
- bolster an officer’s duty to intervene and report when another officer is using excessive force
- permit only the Police Chief to order the use of crowd control weapons
In April 2022, the MDHR issued the report of its investigation of the MPD, which was begun after George Floyd’s murder in 2020. The report found that the MPD continues to engage in race-based policing and identified numerous problems in the training and supervision of police. MPD leadership has acknowledged these and is taking steps to address them.
The MPD is striving to improve physical and mental wellness for its officers. Interim Chief Amelia Huffman cited training on duty to intervene and de-escalation. See question on police changes (link to 1.6)
The POST Board is in the process of revising its rules in ways that would impact both police recruitment and training. The proposed rule changes:
- allow licensure of non-citizen officers who are eligible to work in the U.S.
- establish minimum standards for background investigations
- establish a statewide standard for psychological screenings
- add discriminatory conduct and extremist group affiliation to the conduct that would ban licensure
In 2021, the POST Board adopted a suggested, but not mandated, model policy for police departments on public assembly/first amendment protest conduct.
Minnesota POST Board, Statistics on police department staffing, 2022, Number of officers by Agency, Active Police Officers by Gender
Liz Navratil and Libor Jany, “Minneapolis Mayor Frey’s plan to hire 190 police officers is ‘a heavy lift,’” Star Tribune, January 22, 2022, Article on Plan to hire 190 Police Officers
City of Minneapolis, Police Jobs, City of Minneapolis website, Police Jobs
Minneapolis Police Department, Minneapolis Police Department Sworn Hiring Plan Including Community Service Officers, presentation by Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, February 4, 2021, MPD Sworn Hiring Plan
Pierre-Antoine Louis, ‘Women in Blue,’ and Redefining What It Means to Protect and Serve,” New York Times, Feb. 2, 2021. Article about Women in Blue Documentary
MPD Staffing and Operations Report Commissioned by the City of Minneapolis, Final Report, January 2022, Minnesota Staffing Operations PNC Report
Minnesota Department of Human Rights, Investigation into the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department, Final Findings Report, April 27, 2022 MDHR Investigation into the City of Minneapolis and the MPD
Minnesota POST Board, Proposed Rules Introduced by Notice in June 2022, Minnesota POST Board Update on Proposed Rules
Amelia Huffman, Current MPD Initiatives Report by Interim Chief Amelia Huffman, June 2022, Huffman Report