Minneapolis’ first new police recruits in nearly three years started their training program this week.
The 13-member class is one of the most diverse in department history, according to Sgt. William Palmer. The class, which includes seven people of color, consists of 12 men and one woman.
“It’s tremendous to have another recruit class and to have that be a diverse class, which is an extremely high priority of mine,” said Mayor R.T. Rybak.
The Minneapolis Police Recruit Academy members are expected to begin their field training in January.
The Police Department would receive $2.5 million in the mayor’s proposed 2013 budget to convert community service officers to sworn officers, hire new community service officers and begin a second class of recruits in January.
More than 600 people have submitted applications for the January recruit class, which will have 25 to 30 openings, according to Palmer.
“It’s about time,” said Council Member Don Samuels, who chairs the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Health Committee, which oversees the Police Department.
“We need to get those young people on the force to begin to prepare to take the place of veterans,” said Samuels, who anticipates an increase in retirements in coming years.
The mayor’s budget also allows for more hiring in the Minneapolis Fire Department, where 27 percent of the firefighters will be eligible for retirement during the next four years.