(The Center Square) — Minnesota Senate Republicans launched a $65 million “first priority” law enforcement recruiting program for 2022 on Wednesday.
The proposals — dubbed the “Creating Opportunities in Public Safety” (COPS) program — would spur statewide law enforcement recruitment to address a shortage of police officers, the Senate Majority Leader said. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, at a press conference.
“Across the state, we’ve heard from law enforcement agencies struggling to recruit personnel,” Miller said. for their ability to keep communities safe,” “It’s no accident. These losses are a direct result of “Defund the Police” and anti-police rhetoric, which has demonized police officers and left them personally demoralized and their agencies diminished in size and reputation.
Republicans said the six bills to be printed will help young people graduate in law enforcement and reduce barriers to entry costs via:
- $40 million to fund scholarships, tuition reimbursements or grants to help Minnesotans become police officers. The grant would be $1,500 per year for up to 2 years for eligible recipients.
- $20 million to fund bonuses of up to $10,000 for newly hired peace officers statewide, only awarded to newly fired peace officers after one year of service.
- $2.5 million in tuition reimbursement for newly licensed peace officers and those becoming officers.
- $1 million to fund a Department of Public Safety advertising campaign aimed at elevating the profession of law enforcement.
- $1.5 million to the Pathways to Policing program that supports non-traditional law enforcement applicants who already have an associate’s degree in another discipline by reimbursing agencies up to 50% of training costs.
Republicans have asserted that nationwide law enforcement is in trouble to replace outgoing or resigning leaders. The rostrum of stars reported that 32 Minnesota police chiefs retirement in 2021. Meanwhile, the Peace Officers Standards and Training Council (POST) job board is showing openings for licensed peace officers at at least 65 agencies. Minneapolis and St. Paul have nearly 300 vacancies to fill since last month.
“The bills we are proposing today are just part of a comprehensive effort to support safer communities,” Miller said. can do to better hold these criminals accountable when they violate these laws. »
Miller said the Senate plans to vote on public safety proposals focused on recruiting and retaining officers “as quickly as possible,” but they need the support of the DFL party.
House DFL lawmakers launched $100 million public safety plan which would give:
- $40 million to reduce community violence through juvenile diversion efforts, community violence interruption and restorative justice programs.
- $22 million in grants for local community policing.
- $22 million for criminal investigation units.
- $10 million for opiate abuse and addiction prevention.