Invest in law enforcement to address labor shortages

0

Representative Dan Wolgamott

Minnesota law enforcement is experiencing severe manpower shortages that pose a direct threat to the safety and security of our communities. These statistics cited in a recent St. Cloud Times article demonstrate the extent of the staffing challenges facing the St. Cloud Police Department:

  • The SCPD received 82% fewer requests from police officers in 2021 compared to 2012.
  • The SCPD loses 14 agents, or just over 10% of the department.
  • In 2021, SCPD was looking to hire five or six agents, they received 11 applications and hired four.

Here are some of the bills I’m working on to ensure our police departments have the officers they need to keep the community safe.

Police recruitment and retention bonuses

We need to secure financial support for police departments facing staffing shortages to recruit and retain officers as soon as possible. That’s why I partnered with St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis and St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson to draft HF 4338, a bill to invest $35 million to that the Peace Officers Standards and Training Board (POST) provides grants to eligible police departments. the state for officer recruitment and retention bonuses ranging from $5,000 to $10,000.

For police departments to be eligible, they must follow — as St. Cloud already does — transparency and accountability measures. These include a civilian review board, community policing agreement, or written community engagement strategies, and body cameras, squad cameras, or both. Additionally, they must have a certain percentage loss in the number of police employed by the agency – we want the money to go to the communities that need it the most.

Our legislation is a simple yet effective way to get policing funded as soon as possible, while encouraging transparency and accountability measures to build community safety and trust.

Accelerated Police Training Program

To bring a more systematic approach to expanding the pool of qualified officers, I partnered with House Majority Ryan Winkler to co-draft HF 3581, a bill to create an accelerated police training program and provide scholarships so that the best and brightest can become cops.

Developed in consultation with the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association, the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, this proposal would use Minnesota’s state college and university system to recruit and retain police officers who are under- represented in the profession and who have a proven commitment to serving the community.

Applicants to the program must submit to a thorough background search, including searches by local, state, and federal agencies, to disclose the existence of any criminal record or conduct that would interfere with the applicant’s performance of duties. peace officer.

Bill invests $13 million to provide financial benefits to public safety students, including free tuition, stipend to cover living expenses, job placement assistance, signing bonus and bonus retention after 18 months of service. Participants must remain continuously employed full-time as a Minnesota peace officer for six years after program completion. The program will produce approximately 250 officers per year.

Package to fight rising crime

In addition to our efforts to improve recruitment and retention, I am also pushing for a $200 million public safety program to combat rising crime. This legislation funds data-driven strategies for communities to fight crime, hire additional staff, and build community trust in law enforcement. We fund Local Community Innovation Grants, which provide funds to help local officials, police chiefs, prosecutors and community organizations working on the ground to coordinate and respond immediately to increased violence seen throughout Minnesota.

Now is the time to invest in public safety and law enforcement. Now is the time to harness the power of Minnesota’s colleges and universities to train the next generation of cops. Now is the time to ensure that our police services have the tools, resources and personnel they need to do their job and keep our communities safe.

–State Rep. Dan Wolgamott is serving his second term in the Minnesota House for District 14B. A Democrat, Rep. Wolgamott is Deputy Majority Leader and resides east of St. Cloud.

Share.

Comments are closed.