MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minneapolis Police Department is looking for returning military veterans to fill the gaps in its ranks.
The department took a big hit after changes in the state’s pension plan. It saw many Minneapolis police officers take early retirement.
Now the police force is actively recruiting veterans who were on the front lines of two major wars to serve and protect the streets of Minneapolis.
On Tuesday, a recruiting class for the department had 29 cadets — 14 of them were military veterans.
“A lot of life experience coming through that door,” said Sgt. Katie Blackwell.
She was all smiles when she talked about the recruits, because many are military veterans, just like her.
“They are a perfect fit,” Blackwell said. “And they come with a lot of talents and skills. And it does take less time for them to develop.”
She joined the department 12 years ago. She was recruited by officers she served with in the Minnesota Army National Guard.
Today’s new recruits represent every branch of the military.
“The youngest guy in our class is a vet, and the oldest guy in our class is a vet,” said cadet Lindsay Snow.
She was deployed twice and served with Blackwell. Now she is taking the skills she learned from Uncle Sam and using them to become one of Minneapolis’ finest.
“Just all the different tactical things that you do in the military translate, you know, to keeping you safe on the streets of Minneapolis,” Snow said.
Deputy Chief Eddie Frizell, who heads Minneapolis’ recruiting, says that many veterans come to the department ready to change gears and serve the community.
“They’ve gone through it with honor,” Frizell said. “Now they’re ready to continue that honor and service by getting into law enforcement.”
Frizell is a 23 year veteran of the Minnesota National Guard, deployed twice. He wears the rank of colonel.
In 2010, the Minneapolis Police Department received the highest recognition the state can give for its support of the National Guard. That award was because of the department’s efforts to recruit and hire military veterans.