MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Right now, women make up only 20% of the Minneapolis Police Department, but the city is hoping to change that with a new recruitment idea called the Women’s Leadership Academy.

Back in October, 13 women volunteered a whole week of their time to participate in this crash course training to learn how to be a Minneapolis cop.

These women came from all different backgrounds. Many of them had full-time jobs, were mothers or both. They came from all different racial backgrounds and ranged in ages 25-52.

WCCO sat down with 5 of the women who participated, Katie Miller, Amber Quigley, Ntombi Hew, Maria Prince and Luuley Mohamed.

“I was blown away by the other women in the space, that people made that commitment that they were that invested to volunteer their time,” said Miller.

They were all trained and lead by MPD Officer Keia Pettis, who said it’s women’s natural instincts that make them good cops.

“Statistically women are better speakers, de-escalators and as a department we want to represent the community that we serve,” said Officer Pettis.

Trainee Amber Quigley made unexpected best friends while participating in this week-long academy.

“I’m really quiet and shy, so I broke out of my shell,” said Quigley.

Part of this training included a lot of physical challenges. Officer Pettis says this shouldn’t scare anyone away from thinking they can’t be on the Minneapolis Police Force.

“I really liked the workout, even though I don’t like working out, I really liked it, it was a good pain,” said Quigley.

Officer Pettis said people can still be part of the MPD family without patrolling the streets. People can apply for a civilian position which are administrative or crime lab work.

Each of these women had different reasons for what inspired them to want to learn how to be a police officer.

“It’s in our nature to be caretakers and it’s my job to protect my children and it’s my job to protect the community that I want to raise my children in,” said Hew.

“It’s not about shoot and kill your suspect, it’s about how can you handle the situation without using a deadly force,” said Mohamed.

Over recent years, protests have broken out over officer-involved shootings in the Twin Cities.

Maria Prince’s response to those protests is taking this training.

“Anybody who wants to help and want to see a change I think they should go be a police officer, instead of always complaining about it,” said Prince, “Get up, do something, make a difference.”

Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office has a similar all-female officer training academy. They offered up their curriculum to MPD to help their program get started.

MPD hopes to offer the Women’s Leadership Academy annually. To learn more about it, click here.

Marielle Mohs