Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen on peace officer shortage: 'We need to change the narrative immediately'
New proposals focus on recruitment to address the peace officer shortage affecting the entire state.
ST. PAUL — Last week, Minnesota Senate Republicans rolled out a $65 million COPS program, which stands for “Creating Opportunities in Public Safety.”
The proposals focus on recruitment to address the peace officer shortage affecting the entire state. The six different bills help young people get their degree in law enforcement, provide opportunities for nontraditional entrants into policing, and fund a marketing campaign as well as continuing education to highlight the honorable profession and long-term benefits of a career in law enforcement.
Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, a former Douglas County sheriff, supported the measure.
“Officer recruitment is way down across the state,” Ingebrigtsen said in a news release. “This is bad for Minnesota because not only does it mean our forces are operating on a deficiency, it also means qualified candidates are staying away from the career. Contrary to what progressive extremists say, law enforcement is a good and honorable position. We need to change the narrative in Minnesota immediately and let these brave men and women know they have our support.”
Across the nation, law enforcement positions are opening up faster than they can be replaced by retirement or resignation . In 2021 alone, The Star Tribune reported Minnesota saw 32 Police Chiefs retire .
The Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board Job board shows openings for licensed peace officers in at least 65 agencies. Minneapolis and St. Paul have nearly 300 open positions to fill as of last month, with the state currently lacking upwards of 800 officers.
To view the full list of provisions proposed by Senate Republicans, click the link below:
To listen to the press conference, click here:
— Echo Press staff report