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Minnesota state agency seeks public input on traits wanted in police officers

DULUTH, MN– What kind of characteristics does the public want to see in their police officers? That’s a question law enforcement officials around Minnesota are trying to answer when it comes to hiring new officers to join the force.

Friday, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety hosted a listening session in Duluth, to explore values community members believe contribute to trust in police officers.

The session is part of a series around the state where community members can provide recommendations about what they believe is most important in the recruitment and selection process for state law enforcement agencies.

Those agencies include the Minnesota State Patrol, the BCA, and Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement.

The study seems to show one of the most important traits the public looks for in police is empathy.

But officials are struggling to hire the people with specific traits, due to the lack of applicants.

In 2018, the state saw the lowest number of people taking the police test since they started tracking the number, yet there is still high demand.

Law Enforcement officials are then backed into a corner and end up having to hire most of the people who pass the test, just to fill positions.

Officials say they need more people to come into this profession.

Minnesota’s Assistant Commissioner of Law Enforcement, Booker Hodges says, “we want to be able to hire the best and the brightest out there and we need a larger applicant pool to be able to do that. And if the numbers continue at the rate that they are, we don’t know if we are going to be able to sustain and fulfill the current and future vacancies that we’re going to have down the road in the next 5 to 8 years.”

DPS will host a follow-up meeting next year to explain how participants’ input was integrated into the agency’s recruitment and selection policies.

Information gathered at the sessions will be available on the DPS website.

Jessie Slater

Evening Anchor and Reporter

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