‘I want to be part of the solution’: Joining the force amid increased scrutiny

State Patrol trooper trainees do pushups as part of physical training. (FOX 9)

At a time when law enforcement is more scrutinized than ever, each candidate in the Minnesota State Patrol trooper training program has their own reasons for why they are going into this line of work.

"From experience, I can see what lack of law enforcement can do to a community," said Hanad Hussein, a trooper trainee.

Hussein grew up in Somalia before his family fled the civil war there and eventually moved to Minnesota. He signed up for the State Patrol's Law Enforcement Training Opportunity, or LETO program, because he wants to be the change he wants to see in the way peace officers enforce the law, while becoming the first Somali American to become a Minnesota state trooper in the process.

"Because I want to be part of the solution," he said. "Being involved you can do your part."

"I love helping people out and with law enforcement, I feel I can do more better with my life," said Leetou Yang, a trooper trainee.

Yang has two older brothers who are police officers in Milwaukee. He believes becoming a state trooper will help him make a difference and as a Hmong American help communities of color see more law enforcement officers who look like them.

"Do what you believe in," said Yang. "If you believe this is the job for you, go ahead do it. Believe what you can do and make a change."

"My dad was a firefighter for St. Paul, always grew up with that an influence," said Delaney Sletten, a recruit.

In the meantime for Sletten, the State Patrol is an alternative to going into the military that allows her to stay in Minnesota. She sees law enforcement as a way to serve the community, even though the current climate of anti-police sentiment caused her re-examine if this is really what she wants to do.

"I came to realization we still need law enforcement," said Sletten, a trooper trainee. "There are a lot of changes happening within law enforcement. I think it’s good that there is a group of us and other groups going through it that are taking those changes under our belt and reassessing how things have been done in the past."