Graduating Minneapolis police officers reflect on diversity

- Wednesday marked graduation day for the first cadet classes under Chief Medaria Arradondo. The group of diverse young men and women all said becoming a police officer is truly a “calling."

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo shook the hands of the department's 2017 cadet class of 21 new officers.

"I wanted to do something that I knew mattered every single day, and I could see the effects of that when I came into work. So that's why I'm here," said Demi Adediran.

Adediran was studying for his masters in psychology when he realized it just wasn't for him. So, the 27-year-old thought his education would be useful in law enforcement.

"I see how having that therapy background, you talk to people every day, you listen to their stories when you take their reports, you listen and give them a voice," he said.

Ashish Joshi, 24, was bored as an accountant.

"I realized I didn't like to sit behind the desk all day long. I wanted a job that was more outdoorsy, where I could help people. That's why I'm here," he said.

Joshi was born in Nepal and raised in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

His fellow classmate was born and raised in Nigeria until his family moved to south Minneapolis when he was nine.

As Minneapolis and agencies across the country work to recruit people of different races to improve modern day policing, both men hope their cultures are an asset to the job.

"We're going to be policing people who often look like us. I think it might help to bridge that gap and create a little bit more of a bond between the community and police," Adediran said.

"For me it's much more about how you treat people. I'm sure there are some advantages or disadvantages to being a person of color, but I don't necessarily look at it that way," Joshi said.

Both men are aware of the increased scrutiny on police officers after deadly officer-involved shootings across the country and right here in Minneapolis just a few months ago.

In fact, officer Mohamed Noor was a graduate of this same program.

"People do have to be critical of the police because that's going to help us grow in general, so I do appreciate when people want to know about what we're doing," Adediran said.

And they're aware of the times they will have to put their lives on the line.

"Obviously there are risks to this job, but I think as a class we have all accepted that it's just part of the job," Joshi said.

After graduation the class will be out on the streets training for the next six months before they start policing on their own.

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