Minneapolis residency, social work experience among priorities for police recruits

For the next group of Minneapolis Police Department recruits, the city will be putting a greater emphasis on applicants who live in Minneapolis and have social service experience, according to city leaders.

The city will also assign greater weight to applicants with experience in mental health work and substance use disorder counseling. This also applies to those with degrees in criminal justice, social work, psychology, sociology, criminology, counseling or other related fields.

Wednesday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said this comes as part of an aggressive push for police recruitment. Last week, Frey said in a Facebook post MPD is down to about 640 sworn officers, which is about 200 fewer officers than the same time in 2019. At least 139 officers were on leave last month. Others left the department after the riots following the death of George Floyd.

"We want to make sure those officers we're bringing on are predisposed to having very deep-seated relationships with community," said Frey.

In a statement, MPD Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, who is a Minneapolis native, pointed to the importance of having officers who are familiar with the city's communities. Frey told reporters according to the latest data about eight percent of MPD officers live in Minneapolis.

"So it's a somewhat low figure, obviously we would like to see that figure go up and so placing an enhanced valuation on residency in the city of Minneapolis, but also a number of other connections you can have with Minneapolis is going to be really helpful," said Frey.

According to MPD Deputy Chief Amelia Huffman, officials are planning to post the first job openings for new recruits next week. The city hopes to hire 49 people. In addition to new recruits, department will also be hiring community service officers and cadets later this year.

The new priorities will take effect with this summer's recruitment class.