It's a problem in most major cities across the country, finding recruits to fill the ranks of its police departments. Minneapolis Police have made fewer arrests for crime so far this year than they have in the past four years, reports Reg Chapman (2:29). WCCO 4 News - May 20, 2021
AMELIA SANTANIELLO: Thanks for watching WCCO 4 News and CBSN Minnesota. It is a problem in most major cities across the country, finding recruits to fill the ranks of police departments.
FRANK VASCELLARO: Minneapolis is trying to combat crime with fewer officers. So far this year, they made 200 fewer arrests for violent crimes and more than 130 fewer arrests for property crimes. At the same time, at least 200 fewer police officers are out on the street. WCCO's Reg Chapman has more on MPD's recruiting efforts.
REG CHAPMAN: Minneapolis police have made fewer arrests for crimes so far this year than they have in at least the past four years. Many believe having 200 fewer officers on the street is a major factor in the decrease in enforcement. Sergeant Keia Boyd heads up MPD's recruitment effort.
KEIA BOYD: One of the reasons I became a police officer is to protect my community. And what better way than to become a police officer?
REG CHAPMAN: Boyd was born and raised in South Minneapolis and shares Chief Madaria Arradondo's vision for a department that reflects the community it serves.
KEIA BOYD: That the chief's vision is to be more intentional in our efforts and to include the community of Minneapolis in our hiring process and to help us with recruiting.
REG CHAPMAN: She reached out to faith leaders in the community to send qualified candidates to the attention of the department. Boyd also believes helping those interested to understand the different ways to enter the profession is key.
KEIA BOYD: We have the Explorer Program getting kids in the middle of high school and then feeding them right into our CSO program, which is we'll pay up to two years of your tuition if you go to law enforcement school. And then you'll go right into our academy.
REG CHAPMAN: This route gives candidates the opportunity to get to know the department by working part-time while going to school. MPD is also looking for people with degrees in sociology, social work, or criminal justice.
KEIA BOYD: We'll pay for your portion of skills, the state-mandated requirement to be a Minnesota licensed police officer. And so-- and while you're doing that your benefits kick in right away, and you're a full-time employee.
REG CHAPMAN: Boyd believes these efforts will bring out the best qualified candidates to fill MPD's ranks.
KEIA BOYD: I'm optimistic. It's not going to be tough. I'm from the community. I know it didn't stop with me. I know that there's more from the community that want to take on this profession.
REG CHAPMAN: Reg Chapman, WCCO 4 News.
FRANK VASCELLARO: MPD is also using its women's leadership academy to give women interested in the profession an idea of what the job looks like. The Minneapolis Police Department is actively recruiting. The MPD website has more information. And we have a link to that at wcco.com.