13 new recruits start Mpls. police trainingby Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The city of Minneapolis has hired 13 new recruits for a new class of officers.
Police spokesman Sgt. Bill Palmer said it's the first time since 2009 the department has brought in a new academy class.
"In some years we had more than one class, and other years we didn't have any. It really depended on hiring needs, but three years is quite a span without a class," Palmer said.
The city also struggled financially during that period. The city sent 10 firefighters layoff notices last year, although most of those personnel were retained or hired back. But that department hadn't had a new recruit class since 2008 until the city scheduled one earlier this year.
Palmer says the new officers should be on the streets in January, and will help fill gaps left by retirements.
"The department continues to age," he said. "We do have an average age of 40 years plus on the department."
The department is trying to keep its ranks above 850 officers, he said. It's also considered one of the most diverse new classes, with more than half of the prospective officers coming from communities of color.
A call this month for candidates for the next academy class drew 600 applications. That class could bring as many as 30 more officers into the department.