MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Increasing traffic deaths and crime has the Minnesota State Patrol looking to get more troopers on the road.

The organization is also looking to diversify its ranks, actively recruiting women and minorities with its Law Enforcement Training Opportunity program. All that’s needed is a two or four-year degree and a desire to help others.

For 31 years, Jimmy Buggs served his country first as an active duty soldier and then in the Army reserves.

He also worked retail security, but when he retired from the military, he knew he wasn’t done serving.

“I just happened to hear a news broadcast talking about state patrol was hiring and they are looking for people with degrees,” said Jimmy Buggs.

He’s talking about the LETO program or Law Enforcement Training Opportunity.

If you are college educated, a woman or a man, no matter what your degree is in, if you have a desire to serve, the state patrol wants you to apply.

“We have school teachers, I came from a retail military background, some were in dance, I talked to some who were art students or art teachers. They applied and they was accepted and now they are in the uniform,” said Buggs.

Buggs says his family and friends were concerned about him putting on a uniform, when relations between communities of color and law enforcement are strained.

“My family at first was ‘are you sure you want to do this don’t you just want to retire from the military and find a job that is less stress free?’ And I thought about it and I said ‘you know what I really want to do this,’” Buggs said.

He hopes other Black men and men of color see him helping others and want to do the same.

He believes he is representing his community and at the same time helping repair its relationship with law enforcement.

“I take my uniform off I’m just another African American male. I put that uniform on it’s a respect level that comes with it but, at the time I have to earn the respect from each individual, “ said Buggs.

The state patrol’s core mission is highway safety and it needs more women and men of color to be part of the push to keep us all safe on Minnesota roads.

Applications are being accepted through the State Patrol’s website until Nov. 15.

Reg Chapman

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