By WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A major recruitment push for the Minneapolis Police Department will be focusing more on social service experience and residency in the city. City officials say it’s part of an effort to bring in “community-minded individuals.”

On Wednesday, Mayor Jacob Frey, Chief Medaria Arradondo, and Chief Human Resources Officer Patience Ferguson announced the new measures, which they say will be implemented in all levels of the hiring process.

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The changes include assigning greater weight to applicants who have education and on-the-job experience in social service, mental health work and substance use disorder counseling. The police department is also emphasizing degrees in criminal justice, social work, social sciences, counseling and other related fields. Volunteer experience is also preferred.

“Our officers take a solemn oath and accept the great responsibility of protecting and serving all Minneapolis residents when they join our department,” Frey said. “As more and more new officers join our department, we are doubling down on our commitment to attracting high-caliber individuals who are ready to help build, repair and maintain community trust.”

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City officials say placing more value on residency in Minneapolis and social service experience will ensure the police department is “better embedding Minneapolis’ values” in its recruitment and hiring practices.

“Having grown up in Minneapolis, I know first-hand the value of having officers who are familiar with, and deeply invested in, the communities we serve,” Arradondo said. “I look forward to meeting our future class of recruits and seeing the impact of these policies in action.”

The new recruitment priorities will be implemented with the summer class recruitment. City officials say postings are expected mid-February.

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It’s just one of the police department’s policy changes in recent months, which include updates to body camera practices and no-knock warrants.