The Brooklyn Park Police Department is doing something it has never done before. Officials believe it will help them better connect with the community they serve.
The seven new officers received equipment and uniforms Wednesday. This was only day three of their training, and these officers are excited to finally get the tools they need to do their jobs..
"It feels pretty good," said officer Hassan Robertson.
Robertson has wanted to be a police officer since 2011. Robertson, like many other recruits, already worked for the police department. He was a cadet and was promoted to officer on Monday.
"After I got back from the military, I went to college and then I started as a police reserve and then continued up," explained Robertson.
This latest officer crop is also rich in diversity. The group includes Asian, Hispanic, African-American and white officers, as well as a female recruit.
"I've overcome, I've been through, I've experienced," said officer Alyssa Archer. "I thought I could bring that to a community, preferably a diverse community,which makes Brooklyn Park a perfect fit for me."
The diversity is deliberate. More than half the population in Brooklyn Park is non-white. Officials with the police department say they want officers who are reflective of the community it serves.
"We are out there recruiting cadets who are kids from schools, kids from our colleges, kids from our community and we're recruiting them here, to bring diversity to our police department," said Deputy Chief Mark Bruley.Delivering food all part of the job
The new recruits will undergo six weeks of rigorous training. They'll spend time in the classroom and learn how to go after suspects. But something new is being added to the curriculum: community engagement.
"They'll actually go to a food truck, to some of our impoverished neighborhoods, and actually deliver food to residents," Bruley said.
The idea is for the new officers to get to know the community better. So, along with tasers and other gear, the new officers will also carry empathy and compassion.
"I know it's going to be a challenge, but I'm ready, I'm up for it," Archer proudly said.
The cadet program is a good stepping stone to become eligible for the Brooklyn Park Police Academy. Cadets receive a college scholarship and they are compensated $20 an hour.
Sonya Goins, email@example.com
April 19, 2017