How to Become a Police Officer in Minnesota
In the land of 10,000 lakes, law enforcement entails much more than simple traffic stops and parking tickets. Marine patrol units must be on duty consistently, and emergency management is a serious concern. Minnesota’s numerous police departments and sheriff’s offices stay busy on land as well even though the state has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation. Whether the force serves a large metropolitan area or a small town on the waterfront, it is made up of dedicated men and women who put the safety of the citizens above their own well-being.
For capable individuals who wish to join one of these law enforcement teams, the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training has put together a list of basic requirements. All recruits across the state must meet the following qualifications in order to become licensed officers.
Minimum Selection Standards
– Be a U.S. citizen
– Possess a valid Minnesota driver’s license (or one from a contiguous state in some cases)
– Complete a written application
– Submit a background search that includes any criminal records from local, state, or federal agencies
– Submit fingerprints
– Undergo a medical examination by a licensed physician to determine if any health issues exist that may affect the ability to perform as a peace officer
– Sit for an oral interview with a licensed psychologist to determine if applicant’s mental health is conducive to a career in law enforcement
– Successfully complete a physical agility test
– Sit for an oral examination with the hiring agency to test communication skills
– Have no felony conviction nor requirement to register as a predatory offender
Additionally, an applicant is disqualified from becoming a peace officer in Minnesota if he has been convicted as an adult (or as a juvenile who was tried as an adult) of any of the following crimes.
– Domestic assault
– Assault in the fifth degree
– Mistreatment of persons confined
– Mistreatment of residents or patients
– Criminal abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult
– Financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult
– Failure to report mistreatment of a vulnerable adult
– Prohibited acts (prostitution related)
– Presenting false claims
– Medical assistance fraud
– Theft (including petty crimes)
– Disorderly conduct toward a vulnerable adult
– Any violation that is related to predatory offender registration
Any conviction in another state or federal jurisdiction that would be a felony if committed in Minnesota also disqualifies an individual from becoming a peace officer.
Individuals who meet all the minimum requirements can become either part-time or full-time peace officers. A part-time position calls for an 80-hour course and limits the recruit to 1,040 hours of service per year under the supervision of an experienced peace officer. For a full-fledged license, the trainee must graduate from either a two or four-year peace officer educational school. Minnesota is one of a small number of states that requires a higher education degree at a local accredited college or university for peace officer certification.
The licensing examination is administered by the Board at least six times per year. Once a recruit has passed the exam, he must gain employment with a Minnesota law enforcement agency in order to receive his license. An inactive police officer who wishes to remain certified can take the Reinstatement of Eligibility exam.
If a potential recruit already holds a postsecondary degree, he can attend and complete only the required law enforcement classes in order to qualify for licensure. Minnesota doesn’t have stand-alone police academies; specific law enforcement training courses must be obtained either through one of the POST Board certified schools or with the hiring agency. Regardless of the training location, the objectives of the state’s professional peace officer education are divided into five categories.
– Practical Applications and Techniques
– Criminal Justice System; Civil and Criminal Law
– Community Policing
– Victims and Victims’ Rights
– Leading, Managing, and Communicating
Minneapolis Police Academy
A new recruit with the Minneapolis Police Department may attend an on-site course if his postsecondary degree does not include law enforcement training. The MPD Academy is a 14-16 week paramilitary-style program that is held Monday through Friday but does not require trainees to stay in barracks. Since attendees are counted as employees, they receive regular paychecks throughout the experience.
Physical fitness cannot be compromised in the field of law enforcement. At the MPD, recruits must meet the minimum requirements upon entry and achieve the academy’s demands before graduation. The specific standards are as follows.
Vertical Jump – entry level 13; academy standard 16
300 Meter Run – entry level 82 seconds; academy standard 69 seconds
Sit-Ups – entry level 30; academy standard 35
1.5 Mile Run (min:sec) – entry level 15:44; academy standard 14:43
Push-Ups – entry evel 25; academy standard 28
Bench Press – entry level 102 pounds or 60% of body weight; academy standard 150 pounds or 82% of body weight
Other portions of the Minneapolis Police Academy focus on defensive tactics, firearms training, defensive driving, crime scene investigation, traffic enforcement, and report writing. Once the program has been successfully completed, the new officer is immediately promoted to full-time status and placed into a five-month Field Training Program. This probationary period is one of the longest in the nation, and Minneapolis peace officers are well-prepared by the time they go on solo patrol.
Other PPOE Academies
Some of the schools that offer law enforcement as part of their curriculum lack specific components of the program. For example, firearms training and emergency vehicle operation must be practiced at a well-equipped facility. The colleges work together, however, to provide the necessary opportunity to all students. For convenience, some of the academic material can be studied online. Each accredited school is closely monitored by the POST Board staff members to ensure professionalism.
Salary and Benefits
Once the rigorous training process has been successfully completed, the permanent Minnesota peace officer is rewarded with a competitive annual salary and many benefits. State troopers start with $52,158 a year and a take-home squad car. Although large departments usually pay a higher rate than small units, licensed police personnel all enjoy the following additional perks.
– Health and dental insurance
– Life insurance
– Short-term and long-term disability insurance
– Sick leave and vacation pay
Most law enforcement employees can participate in the state’s retirement plan as well. Unique job opportunities keep many officers motivated to continue their training. A few of the specialized department divisions are listed below.
– Narcotics and vice unit
– SWAT team
– Canine unit
– Mounted police
– Motorcycle patrol
– Internal affairs
– Property and evidence
– Leadership and organizational development
– Community engagement and response team
– School programs
– Business technology unit
– Background investigations
– Honor Guard
– Dive team
– Crisis incident management
– Search and rescue
– Police band
– Court security
– Air wing division
– Commercial vehicle enforcement