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94 percent of Minneapolis police officers live outside the city of Minneapolis. Does it matter?

The MPD’s current numbers mean the city has one of the lowest residency rates in the country.

If you’re a Minneapolis cop, chances are you drive to and from work every day on highways that connect the city to the suburbs or the exurbs — or even western Wisconsin. Chances are that when you leave behind your job each day, you leave behind the city, and everything in it, too.

That’s because only six percent of current sworn Minneapolis Police Department officers live in the City of Minneapolis, according to data obtained from the MPD. In raw numbers, that means just 48 of the of the city’s 807 full-time sworn officers call the city home.

In the wake of the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri — not to mention the MPD’s own history of tension with communities of color — those figures raise obvious questions about how well the department reflects and understands an increasingly diverse city. But it also raises an even more fundamental question: does residency even matter when it comes to how well police officers do their jobs?

Residency tied to diversity

Residency rates have become a hot topic in recent months, due largely to the crisis in Ferguson, putting a spotlight on the demographic and racial make-up of departments nationwide. The officer who shot teenager Michael Brown, Darren Wilson, lived in an overwhelmingly white town, but served a community, Ferguson, that is 67 percent black.

Officer residency

Percentage of sworn officers who live within the city limits:

St. Paul
National avg.

The MPD’s current numbers mean the city has one of the lowest residency rates in the country. Among the nation’s 75 largest police forces, in fact, the average residency rate is around 40 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight, which compiled the data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

The city’s numbers don’t just stand out when compared to other big cities around the nation, though. St. Paul has the same requirements for new hires as Minneapolis, with a similar cost of living but a lower starting salary ($54,504 for the MPD vs. $49,807 for officers in St. Paul).

Yet the residency rate for the St. Paul Police Department is 22 percent, based on the department’s data. Of the department’s 615 full-time sworn officers, 122 call the city home.

While residency rates vary across the country, in almost all cases they are closely linked to the diversity of the police force. Data nationwide shows that black and Hispanic officers are considerably more likely to reside in the cities they serve than white officers.

This may be one of the reasons why Minneapolis’ residency rate is so low. Of the department’s 807 sworn officers, 74 are black (9 percent), and 33 are Hispanic (4 percent). Of the 460 new cadets and recruits, 61 are black (13 percent) and 13 are Hispanic (2.8 percent). This in a city where the black population is estimated to be 18.6 percent, and the Hispanic population is 10.5 percent.

And though the department’s diversity is improving, officials acknowledge it still isn’t where the department would like it to be. “Give it time,” says David Burbank, a supervisor in the department’s recruitment and training unit. “We’re getting better.”

Residency and bias

In the aftermath of Brown’s death — and a grand jury’s decision not to indict Wilson for the shooting — questions about how race, residency and cultural geography affect policing have been under scrutiny like never before.

Yet studies show that neither race of the officer nor residency actually plays a significant role in the rate of police misconduct or complaints, says Terrence Allen, a professor of social work at the University of Texas who studies police and urban-community relations.

Sam Walker, an expert on police accountability and public oversight, echoes Allen. “I do not believe that where officers live is a significant factor in actual police conduct,” Walker says. “There is a [public] perception problem, of course. But all of my research shows that what makes a difference is how professional the department is and how accountable they hold individual officers.”

While residency itself might not play a significant role in police misconduct, questions remain about how it affects a department’s overall perception of a city  — and the people they police— if almost all of its officers live outside it.  

“If police officers come in with a negative perception of the people they are protecting and serving, it is going to diminish their interest in helping people,” Allen says. “These issues are driven by attitude of the persons who patrol these communities. This problem goes all they way back more than 100 years. It’s part of the fabric of this country.”

The effect of those implicit attitudes would seem to be an important question in Minneapolis. In October, the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota released a report revealing that black residents of Minneapolis were significantly more likely to be arrested than whites for low-level crimes such as loitering, curfew, vagrancy, and marijuana possession. In addition, blacks in Minneapolis were nearly nine times more likely than whites to be arrested for disorderly conduct.

MPD 2.0

In the 1990s, the Minneapolis Police Department had a residency requirement for new hires. But in 1999, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, then a Republican Representative and a lieutenant in the MPD, introduced a bill called the “Stanek Residency Freedom Bill” that prohibited municipalities in Minnesota from requiring residency for employment. Then-governor Jesse Ventura signed it into law.

Bill Green, a history professor at Augsburg who served on a task force creating the city’s Civilian Review — a citizen oversight board of the police department — says a residency requirement was never a solution for creating a more accountable police department. “When that was in place, police tended to live in neighborhoods that were predominately white, middle class, politically conservative,” he says. “And so the streets which they patrolled were not necessarily like the streets where the lived.”

Green says he doesn’t believe that residency is really substantive to the question of how we get better cops. “My sense is that cops learn how to develop that siege mentality from the culture they enter into,” he says. “For them it’s an issues of life and death…you learn to be aggressive in order to get home at night. The culture they enter into is an important factor in how they treat people in the community.”

Changing that culture has been a priority for Chief Janeé Harteau, who took over the department two years ago under the pledge of creating an “MPD 2.0,” a revamped department dedicated to community engagement, transparency and accountability.

Officers contend that the department has in fact changed drastically in the last year. “We’re not trying to be a reactive police department, we’re trying to be a proactive police department,” says Sherman Patterson, the MPD’s community engagement coordinator. “The best way to do that is boots on the ground. Every officer knows this now.”

Patterson lives in Minneapolis and says he sees the direct impact of the new “2.0” department every day. “So much is perception, and the community is seeing we are tearing down those barriers,” he says. “But it takes time.”

While the department has seen swift and deep changes internally, including a recent reconfiguration among top brass, public perception of the department hasn’t seen the same shift.

Police Chief Janeé Harteau
MinnPost photo by Bill Kelley
Police Chief Janeé Harteau

Last year, Harteau requested an assessment of the department from the U.S. Department of Justice. In February 2014, the Office of Justice Programs’ Diagnostic Center team came to Minneapolis to meet with 23 community members to discuss their perceptions of the MPD and the citizen complaint process.

A draft audit released last month revealed significant issues with the department’s early intervention system — used to spot red flags in officer behavior — and its community engagement efforts.

Public perception, it holds, also wants the department to be more of a representative of the city as a whole. “Community members reported there are a few officers that treat them with disrespect and without dignity,” a representative of the Office of Justice Programs noted in an email. “They believed these officers lacked cultural sensitivity and the language barrier made interactions difficult. Some mentioned officers could use training to improve their communication skills.”

So far, the Diagnostic Center has recommended the MPD build upon its current efforts expand community engagement efforts. Additionally, the Office of Justice Programs says, the MPD is in the process of training all officers in Fair and Impartial Policing, a system of training designed to reduce “implicit bias” in police departments.

Increasing community engagement and hiring a diverse group of officers that mirror the community are just the first steps to creating a more transparent and accountable department, Allen says.

“If we can eliminate race from the equation, we can get at these deeper issues of policing,” he says. “We can start looking at issues like, ‘Should we train officers more? Should we transition rookies from training differently? Are bias and attitudes an issue?’ Once we eliminate the racial disparities, we can start focusing on how we can create better police departments.”

MPD spokesperson John Elder says no decisions will be made about the department’s next steps and new training initiatives until the DOJ report is complete, which should be within the next few weeks.

But he says the department is already increasing its efforts to connect to the community. “I will tell you that we are seeing our officers are spending more time than ever at community meetings with the boots on the ground, cops out of cars,” he says. “And that is more important than where I put my head on a pillow at night.”

Comments (38)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/03/2014 - 10:45 am.

    Residency history

    Saint Paul used to have a residency requirement for its cops too but was changed by the 1999 law. People liked the idea of having a cop car parked on the street on their block, somehow thinking that it offered them some added protection.

    But Stanek’s rationale made sense: First, it’s probably unconstitutional to tell employees where they have to live, but also, by removing the residency requirement the cities benefitted from a larger, expanded talent pool of people who were now willing to work in those jobs, and so by extension, the taxpayers benefited from the rule by having higher quality people working in local government.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 12/03/2014 - 02:01 pm.

      I think some communities do offer housing or mortgage assistance (or even forgiveness, based on time served?), which would help home-ownership rates, would give the officer (a group of people who I personally think are underpaid and overworked) a better degree of financial security, AND it has the added benefit of having the officers who police a community be members of that community, and will necessarily inform their day-to-day interactions with the residents. One of my neighbors is a police officer in my city, and I am very happy to have him working in the community he serves. Plus he’s just a nice guy.

      I completely agree that you shouldn’t be able to require where someone lives (within reason, of course), but better incentives to get those officers to live in the neighborhoods they police would be a great benefit to all involved, i’d think.

    • Submitted by Pat Brady on 12/03/2014 - 09:46 pm.

      three police officers live in my neighorhood

      I remeber the days too when St. Paul Police would park their squad cars in front of their houses when off duty too. It made the neighobrhood feel safer. Currently , living in a very high density area of W 7th St. we have cops in our condo building and livng next door in an apartment building.
      On National Night Out, the neigbor cop told us how he used his balcony to observe some potential drug dealing behind a gas station across the street. It was taken care of, and this summer there has not been any “loitering” behind the gas station.
      Police need to know and value the community they work in, it benefits all of us.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 12/03/2014 - 11:11 am.

    The Answer is No

    We went through this a number of years ago with teachers and the school districts in which they taught. If I am a plumber, a store clerk, an accountant, or whichever vocation I am employed in, it has no bearing on where I live. My life away from my job is my life.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 12/03/2014 - 03:58 pm.

      You can’t equate clerks, plumbers and accountants

      to the police. Those are trades whereas the police represent the municipality they’re patrolling. They should have a vested interest in the community, know the neighborhoods, the people and the challenges they face everyday. A cop living and commuting from Burnsville to patrol the northside has none of that.

      • Submitted by Brian Simon on 12/03/2014 - 06:03 pm.

        how close is close enough?

        Does a cop living in southwest Minneapolis have much more in common with north side residents than the Burnsville cop? While I would prefer Minneapolis cops lived in Minneapolis, requiring residency wouldn’t solve the current problems of police-community relations.

        • Submitted by jason myron on 12/03/2014 - 10:13 pm.

          Well, Brian

          I think the cop that lives in southwest Minneapolis would at least be familiar with city living rather than the person ensconced in some cul-de-sac in suburbia. Residency might not solve the problem, but it would be a step in the right direction and provide the citizens a police force with commonalty as opposed to an occupying force

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/03/2014 - 07:15 pm.

      Given that logic:

      why do we require representatives, councilmen, commissioners, senators etc. to have a residency requirement? The logic in “The Answer is No” suggests or implies that what ever the job, residency has “no bearing” on commitment or performance!

  3. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 12/03/2014 - 11:33 am.


    Maybe the problem is that the borders of Minneapolis are in the wrong place. Or perhaps the borders of the police force. Maybe we should have a metro wide police force instead of localized municipal police forces.

    • Submitted by Mark Byrnes on 12/03/2014 - 01:32 pm.

      You bring up a good point Hiram.

      The area of Minneapolis is smaller than similar sized metro areas. Minneapolis proper has 54 sq miles. Look at the City of Portland with 154 sq miles, or Oklahoma City with 621 sq miles.

      I suspect that due to the larger area covering a similar metro population, other city boundaries cover a more diverse range of economic classes which would likely include police officers.

      I also suspect that our border size leads to many flawed comparisons. More reasonable comparisons are most likely made between metro areas.

      • Submitted by Molly Priesmeyer on 12/03/2014 - 01:52 pm.

        Yes, it is true that the size of the city matters. However, Minneapolis and St. Paul are identical in size. (55 sq. miles). It might explain why St. Paul’s rate is relatively lower than the rest of the country, at 22 percent versus 40 percent. But not why Minneapolis rates are 6 percent.

  4. Submitted by James Hamilton on 12/03/2014 - 12:25 pm.

    A vote in favor of residency requirements.

    I want the men and women policing the streets of my city to know my city, not simply as a result of the hours spent on patrol and performing their duties, but as people with a deeper understanding of its people and of the city itself. An officer patrolling the East Side should know more about it than its demographics and its history of police calls, just as the officer should in the North End, along West 7th or on the West Side. If all you know about the city and its people is based on policing, you can’t avoid developing a jaundiced view of both.

    There is a good deal to be said for having to be accountable to your friends and neighbors for the job you do in their names.

  5. Submitted by Thom Roethke on 12/03/2014 - 12:27 pm.

    As to that siege mentality…

    Can we stop using military expressions such as “boots on the ground” to refer to civilian peace officers? We have “boots on the ground” in Afghanistan, not in Minneapolis. As long as the police continue to talk about themselves as if they were an occupying force, and as long as we continue to accept their doing so, then that siege mentality, us vs. them attitude is not going anywhere.

  6. Submitted by David Frenkel on 12/03/2014 - 12:51 pm.


    I formerly lived in Fairfax County, VA where most government services including police and fire rescue were provided at the county level. There are arguments on both sides of this but without a doubt size allows for more resources available to police and fire rescue. Fairfax Fire Rescue has a global reputation for working in disasters . At a high level it really makes no sense for all the local fire and police jurisdictions within each county, it is a lot of administrative overhead.

  7. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 12/03/2014 - 02:19 pm.

    My 2¢

    While I don’t think it’s the most crucial of police/community issues, I see nothing wrong with having the police not only represent the area they’re policing, but live in that area, too. Accordingly, I’m inclined to second Messrs. Hamilton, Roethke and Frenkel.

    Is it essential that police officers live in the community they’re policing? No, but I do think it helps, and for just the reasons that James Hamilton suggests. I also think Thom Roethke is absolutely on-target (no pun intended) regarding the militarization of the police, including adoption of some of the same language. Everyone, regardless of political persuasion, ought to be uncomfortable with the image of America as a literal police state, and the more we refer to and defer to the police as some sort of occupying force, the closer we get to that undesirable state.

    Having lived for decades in St. Louis County, MO – a poster child for mind-numbing, inefficient, narrowly parochial municipal government that counts 90+ “municipalities,” some of them numbering only a few hundred people – Dave Frenkel is quite correct in noting that more, and smaller, departments simply make for wasteful duplication and administrative overhead all out of proportion to any benefits gained. We might be much better off with regional police and fire services – which would be fought tooth and nail by the same people who fight any sort of change tooth and nail, especially if it means their little fiefdoms might be affected.

  8. Submitted by Ray Marshall on 12/03/2014 - 02:56 pm.

    Police residency in Minneapolis

    1. I read nothing in the Minnesota or US Constitutions that talks about residency. But we all know that bored judges love to make up new laws.
    2. It would be nice to have an extra 800 city employees making upwards of $100,000, counting overtime and working at banks and public events, etc., working and shopping in Minneapolis.
    2. Cops don’t like to live in the city where they work because all the neighbors tend to pester them about city policies, snow plowing, traffic light scheduling, petty crimes, etc.

  9. Submitted by Jeremy Archibald on 12/03/2014 - 03:08 pm.


    Perhaps they don’t live in the city of Minneapolis because they want their children to have a better than 46.9% chance at graduation? Perhaps they don’t want to live in a city that has little regard for tax payers money and even less regard for police?

  10. Submitted by Mike Schumann on 12/03/2014 - 03:58 pm.


    Ideally, all city workers should be residents, not just police officers. This obviously needs to be somewhat flexible. However there should be some kind of incentive, either financial, seniority, or otherwise to encourage public sector employees to live where they work, so that they actually have the opportunity to experience the fruits of their labors, like the rest of us.

  11. Submitted by Rita OKeeffe on 12/03/2014 - 04:48 pm.

    Cause and Effect

    I think there is a pretty strong correlation between the fact that the cops generally live in the burbs and the fact that they behave like an occupying force. Its always been pretty clear to me that on the rare occasions that the cops are not outright nasty they nonetheless have a “lady what do you expect living in Minneapolis attitude.” Given that they treat me, an older affluent white lady, with utter disdain, I can’t image how badly they treat my neighbors of color. Oh, and I’m a former prosecutor who worked hand in glove with law enforcement for years in another state who never thought I would have this view of cops. I was also required to live in the county I served. We need to recruit our police force from city residents or provide some sort of incentive for our police to live in the city. Also, from what I have heard once a Minneapolis cop its impossible to get hired in the burbs, so I don;t think we’re getting the “cream of the suburban crop” any way.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/03/2014 - 10:24 pm.


      Given your thoughts and the fact that there are ~400,000 people who live in Minneapolis.

      Why do you think more minorities and people from the city are not employed on the Minneapolis police force?

      Would it be beneficial to lower the standards for officers to get more local / minority officers?

      As someone mentioned above, even if they hire them initially, how would they keep them from moving to communities with better schools / demographics? Or do you belive the city should give a stipend so their kids can attend private schools?


      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 12/04/2014 - 09:36 am.

        A simple question, and most likely, a rhetorical one

        “Would it be beneficial to lower the standards for officers to get more local / minority officers?”

        Why do you think that for more minority officers to join the police force, standards need to be lowered?

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/04/2014 - 02:01 pm.

        A personal story

        When I came home from the Navy, my older sister encouraged me to take the upcoming exam for the Ramsey County Deputy Sheriff position. She had been a deputy for several years and thought I would be a good fit since I had served as a Navy Shore Patrol on occasion and did an undercover stint in NIS.

        I wasn’t really interested in the job, but how do you tell that to your well-meaning sister, right? And so with 2-days notice and no preparation, I took the exam along with about 1500 other people (including my younger sister).

        Guess what? I got a call from their training department and was told that I had finished number one on the exam. They were calling to ask me to attend a meeting where they would schedule special help and guidance thoughout the training process, etc. They really wanted the Indian kid to take and succeed in that job.

        I told them thanks, but I wasn’t interested. I had been offered a job teaching systems engineering at a local computer manufacturer and I would rather do that.

        It seems to me that the offer of special help was a defacto “lowering of the standards” in that I was only offered the help because of my race. I have no idea if they still do that today.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 12/04/2014 - 03:28 pm.


          How could it possible be a ‘lowering of standards’ if you had the highest score of the entire group? What you’ve described is the exact opposite of that- you met the highest standard of excellence based on some sort of knowledge or skills assessment.
          From my reading of it, the ‘special help’ sounded like more of an expedited process than anything else. I mean, if they thought that you needed special help after finishing 1st on the exam, that’s just their own prejudice coming into view, right?

          • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/04/2014 - 04:13 pm.


            Even though I finished number one on the exam, they assumed I would need extra help to get through the academy. Go figure.

            • Submitted by jason myron on 12/06/2014 - 02:32 pm.

              Your experience

              with the department was what…forty years ago? In what way is it relevant in today’s world??

  12. Submitted by Neal Gendler on 12/03/2014 - 09:07 pm.

    Suburban police and waste

    I agree that having several dozen police departments scattered around Minneapolis (and St.Paul) means duplication that increases costs. On the other hand, I think that suburban departments do meet some of the goals of community policing, or whatever you want to call the idea of police officers being intimately familiar with the areas in which they work.

    Even if the suburban officers live well outside the cities in which they work, they tend to spend years in one relatively small area and can come to know it — and its residents know them — quite well. Unless something has changed, Minneapolis police are rotated periodically among precincts, making them familiar with the whole city, but probably not in the depth an officer in, say, Golden Valley or New Hope would know his or her smaller city.

    A metrowide or countywide police force would have some economies of scale, but we’d still have it divided into subdivisions, each with its own district or precinct chief. The savings might be smaller than they at first appear.

  13. Submitted by John Appelen on 12/03/2014 - 10:32 pm.

    Interesting Concept

    I wonder how many of us would want to live and breathe our job 24 hrs/day 7 days/wk.

    By that I mean all these folks who think the officers should live where they work so that they know a lot of people in the community. I wonder how the officers would get a break from their duties?

    Also, wouldn’t that increase the likelihood that the officers would play favorites or pursue people they disapprove of?

    • Submitted by Thom Roethke on 12/04/2014 - 12:15 pm.

      Being a police officer isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle. It comes with a lot of benefits (minor laws such as speeding, parking violations, etc simply don’t apply to police officers), but it should also come with additional responsibility.Cops don’t take “breaks” from their duties when enjoying the privileges that come attached to the job.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/04/2014 - 10:46 pm.


        Maybe that is why only certain groups of people train and apply. Who wants to work 24/7???

        They must be slightly disturbed. 🙂

  14. Submitted by Paul Linnee on 12/04/2014 - 01:18 pm.

    The ‘pipeline’ is the main element of the issue here

    By ‘pipeline’, I mean the pool of qualified applicants who are eligible to be licensed as peace officers in and by the State of Minnesota.

    For well over 30 years, MN has had one of the more aggressive “peace officer licensing” protocols in the USA. Under it, nobody can be a police officer, deputy sheriff (or Sheriff), state trooper, BCA agent or DNR enforcement officer unless they are licensed by the State of MN. In order to be so licensed, they (generally) must possess (at least) an Associate of Arts Degree and then attend and pass a Basic Police Skills course. Then, AND ONLY THEN, can they present themselves as applicants for one of the above jobs. The hiring agency selects from ONLY that pool of ‘licensable’ candidates, then hires them, and employs them for one year of probation and on-the-job-with-that-agency training, after which they are finally fully licensed. Once so licensed (put another way: Once they get their ‘ticket punched’) they are free to market them selves to any public law enforcement agency in Minnesota, where they could and often are highly prized recruits, since they can ‘hit the streets running’, so to speak.

    So, any talk about “we need to hire more this or that type of person” misses the point. What one would have to do is affect the longer term career planning decisions made by (often) 18 – 21 year olds who would then need to choose the proper MN college to get (at least) their AA degree. Without that, there is no way they can become cops in MN.

    So the real question is what is being done within the city of Minneapolis (and its public and private schools) to prepare young people to consider and move into this pipeline to become peace officers? If more of them FROM Minneapolis were to be prepped to become cops, then I would suppose that most of them who eventually got hired by the MPD would be much more likely to continue to be residents of Minneapolis. I know my kids, as ‘city natives’ were far more disposed to continue to live in the city as adults. It just got in their blood.

    I think it would be fascinating to look at the ‘hometown of origin’ of Minneapolis cops hired in the past 20 years and see what percentage claim Minneapolis as their hometown during their formative years of 12 – 20. I would guess it is quite low as well.

    Finally, I managed a city of Minneapolis department back in the 1990’s both before and after we had the city-wide residency requirement for city employees. It was a nightmare. In my department we believed (but it was hard to prove) that we had some ‘cheaters’, not to mention what happened when John Doe (MPD cop) who lives in Minneapolis under their rule, marries Mary Smith, St. Paul cop who lives in SP under their rule? Do they live in Stan Hubbard’s office on the border @ KSTP, or does one of them quit, or does one of them ‘cheat’ and ‘lie’?

    It struck me as a superficial, but politically attractive way to look like them problem was being dealt with, when it really was not.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/05/2014 - 09:15 pm.

      Great Comment

      On top of that, we need to get more minority children to be academically successful.

      The achievement gap causes many problems within our society.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 12/06/2014 - 02:34 pm.

        Perhaps you should stop

        attempting to cut aid for them and their families at every chance you get. You people speak out of both sides of your mouth.

    • Submitted by Kenneth Kjer on 12/07/2014 - 10:47 am.

      Very good points

      I worked in law enforcement for 22 years. I still have my old POST Board card. After I left LE I went back to school and obtained a Masters degree and a PhD. Based on the current standards in MN, even with an MBA and a PhD I could not apply for a police job in MN because I do not have an AA degree in Criminal Justice and although fully trained as a police office I have taken and passed the 6 month basic skills test. Here is another problem, an AA in criminal justice is a totally worthless degree if you decide not to go into law enforcement. There is very little use for it in the corporate world other than perhaps as a security guard somewhere. I thought the law was foolish at the time and I think is has proven it worthless over time because it has driven great prospects away from a law enforcement career.

      • Submitted by Paul Linnee on 12/08/2014 - 11:33 am.

        Excellent insights.

        Could not have said it better myself. I too was licensed by POST for 24 years (1970 – 1994), prior to the imposition of the new regime. On the one hand, I think the idea of a statewide license that is portable is laudable, as well as the requirement for at least some college, thereby meaning that candidates are at least a tad bit older and more mature when they actually start their law enforcement careers. On the other hand, however, I think the ‘college degree requirement’ (Specifically the AA in law enforcement) in the current POST law might have been a reaction by those in law enforcement to what they feared might be rend towards police agencies requiring 4 year degrees – without the law enforcement specificity. I was hired by one of those agencies (Burnsville) back in 1970, and they required that applicants have a 4 year degree and we took a lot of heat from other L.E. agencies under the sense that “college degrees don’t make you a good cop”. And, while I agree with that statement, it does not go far enough. I would amend it to say, “An otherwise potentially good cop who takes the time and has the discipline and maturity to obtain a broad based 4 year degree will be a better cop than had he/she not done so.”

        So, my point is that the imposition of the AA degree requirement was the attempt of those in power who wanted to preserve the status quo to be able to say, “See, we’re progressive, we are now requiring college degrees!”, but in so doing they also established an ‘industry’ at the Community College level where many of them became pretty well paid adjunct instructors(usually on the side) teaching would be cops all their collective wisdom, and keeping the closed society still somewhat closed. Furthermore, it established a system whereby in all likelihood a person who wanted to become a cop had to decide at 18 or 19 (which may not be a fully informed decision on a career path) and get cracking on the AA degree, and once committed to that path (as you stated) it is not a path that leads to other opportunities.

        Finally, I always wondered if there was some malevolent intent in creating a process whereby if one (or an entire system) wanted to discriminate against any particular group (minority, women, etc.) it would be better to ‘discourage their entry’ at an earlier point in the process (entry into the AA courses at college) as opposed to allowing them to move through the process, apply for jobs at an agency, and then have to figure out a more creative and legal way to discriminate against them at that point. If that was the intent (conscious or otherwise) it seems to have succeeded, since there are now too few candidates of color making it through to the “I am licensable and now I want to apply for an actual police job”, leaving the hiring agencies to ‘lament’ that they are not getting enough such candidates. Catch 22?

  15. Submitted by Kurt Anderson on 12/06/2014 - 11:37 pm.

    Gray-haired history

    Count your blessings. Do you really want local resident police giving us another Charlie Stenvig as mayor??

  16. Submitted by Mike Downing on 12/07/2014 - 10:07 am.

    No it does not matter…

    It makes no logical, rational or financial sense for a lower income family to pay the higher property taxes in Mpls and attend Mpls schools when there are better options next door.

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