New academy aims to diversify the ranks of the Saint Paul Police Department

Leaders of the Saint Paul Police Department want it to become a more diverse organization, so they recently launched a new academy specifically for people from groups traditionally underrepresented in law enforcement.

The department is currently accepting applications for the Law Enforcement Career Path Academy, which is designed to help young adults overcome financial obstacles, educational barriers and employment roadblocks that may be standing in their way of becoming police officers.

“Saint Paul is among the most diverse cities in the Minnesota,” said Saint Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell. “That’s why the Saint Paul Police Department is committed to recruiting officers from a variety of backgrounds—those who are fluent in the languages spoken in our community and those who truly understand and value diversity. This academy will help us accomplish our goal of having a police department that better reflects the people we serve.” 

Participants in the two-and-a-half year academy will be paid to attend law enforcement classes at Century College, gain real-world experience by volunteering with the police department at events and through the Police Activities League, and receive support services from the Community Action Partnership.

The first phase of the academy runs from April through August 2017 and includes:

  • Three mandatory orientation courses, during which participants will learn about the Saint Paul Police Department, how to enroll at Century College and services available through the Community Action Partnership.

    One orientation class will include participants’ family members and support networks, so they can learn about what a career in law enforcement entails.
     

  • Counseling and personalized guidance from Century College designed to help academy participants enroll in the Law Enforcement Program, where they will be paid $10.50 per hour through a partnership with RightTrack while they are in class earning five credits towards their degree.
     
  • Support from the Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties, which focuses on helping people access education programs, transportation and employment opportunities.
     
  • Opportunities to gain real-world experience while volunteering with the Saint Paul Police Department for 40 hours each week.

At the end of the summer, participants will transition to the second phase of the academy, which will include:

  • Employment transition assistance
  • Ongoing advising and mentoring from a Saint Paul police officer
  • Opportunities to ride with officers patrolling Saint Paul
  • Ongoing support from the Community Action Partnership
  • Continued enrollment in the Law Enforcement Program at Century College.

Once participants finish the academy, they will be in a position to pursue careers in law enforcement in Minnesota, which requires applicants to have a degree in law enforcement and pass the POST test. 

The goal is to help people who aspire to become police officers achieve their goals—preferably with the Saint Paul Police Department, according to John Lozoya, senior commander of the department’s Community Engagement Unit.

“Many young people face barriers in their daily lives that prevent them from pursuing their dreams,” he said. “Our goal is to help them overcome those barriers while at the same time positioning them to succeed once they earn their degree and pass the Peace Officer Standards and Training test. We view this as a path for people from traditionally underrepresented groups to become police officers.”

Applications and eligibility requirements for the Law Enforcement Career Path Academy can be found online at stpaul.gov/jobs

 

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