Scholarships Help Brooklyn Park Police Increase Female Recruits
A law enforcement group gave out scholarships this week to officers and police department employees who are continuing their education, including two women who work for Brooklyn Park police.
“That is exciting to see,” said Detective Dawn Sysaath, who is a school resource officer for Brooklyn Park at Park Center High School, one of the scholarship recipients. “When I looked to my left, and saw all women, I’m not going to lie, it was beautiful to see.”
Four of the six recipients were honored by the the Law Enforcement Opportunities board at a ceremony Wednesday afternoon at Mall of America in Bloomington.
Sysaath is a 15-year law enforcement veteran and is working on a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Concordia University in St. Paul.
Her co-worker, Samina Ahmed, also received a scholarship to help her finish her law enforcement degree from Hennepin Technical College. Ahmed has worked for about a year in as a mental health data analyst, but wants to become a police officer.
“It was always there, it was something I always wanted,” said Ahmed. “Seeing our officers, the way they work with the community, the way they address mental health, it just felt like what I needed to do.”
Officers from several Twin Cities metro police and sheriffs offices joined LEO board members Wednesday to congratulate the recipients. Hennepin County Sheriff Dawanna Witt was the keynote speaker.
“There will be times where you’re asked to conform to a system. There will be times you are asked to conform to fit in,” said Sheriff Witt. “But remember when we’re talking about true diversity, you are good enough just by being who you are.”
Initiatives like this scholarship program form a backdrop against departments nationwide struggling to fill vacancies.
“We have a hiring process going on right now, and we’ve had six people apply,” said police Inspector Elliot Faust of the Brooklyn Park Police Department. “Six. That’s unheard of.”
Faust said Chief Mark Bruley has made it a goal for the department to join others nationwide in pledging to have 30 percent of its workforce be females.
“It’s those type of things that are going to help us get through this staffing crisis,” said Faust. “It’s going to be us continuing to develop these different programs and finding different ways to attract them to this type of work.”
The goal may also be to encourage development of teams like those Sysaath and Ahmed say they’re fortunate to be a part of already.
“We pride ourselves on individuality. Everyone is their own person. We all bring unique traits to the table,” said Ahmed. “It’s not that we’re all acting the same, it’s that we bring different experiences and walks of life into the job, and it makes it incredible.”
The Law Enforcement Opportunities board hosts a career fair each year. The next one is coming up in October at Metro State University.
Also See: Brooklyn Park Police Unveil State’s First Mental Health Alternative Response Team