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Who wants to be a police officer?  Applications plummet
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The History of the Police Badge
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Comparing Police Views and Public Views
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Work begins on east metro training facility
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MCPA Launches initiative to attract applicants to policing

Wear the Badge focuses on the positive realities of a law enforcement career  

New Brighton, MN - The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association (MCPA) announced today a unique, new statewide initiative, wearthebadge.org, aimed at improving the recruitment and retention of police officers and the overall perception of the profession.

Wear the Badge will help Minnesotans explore the changing dynamics of a law enforcement career and give potential candidates and the public a better understanding of what it’s really like to work as a peace officer in the 21st Century.

Police departments large and small, urban and rural, are seeing a dramatic drop in the number of candidates applying for job openings.  Locally, there is also a substantial increase in the number of candidates who fail to meet pre-hiring qualifications, according to Andy Skoogman, Executive Director of the MCPA, a statewide, professional member organization representing more than 500 law enforcement leaders in Minnesota. Skoogman says there are a number of contributing factors.  He also says the profession struggles to attract individuals with diverse skill sets, backgrounds and experience.

“While local and national research shows strong support for law enforcement, the policing profession is staring down a hiring crisis,” said Skoogman. “We live in an economy where jobs are plentiful, salaries in the private sector are often greater than the public sector, scrutiny of police is more intense than ever and technology is rapidly changing the work officers do. We have to reverse this troubling trend.” 

According to a survey of by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), nearly 66 percent of police departments in the U.S. say their number of job applicants has decreased. Findings from the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicate that the raw number of sworn officers is also down from a peak of approximately 723,000 in 2013 to about 701,000 today.

In Minnesota, the number of people who are taking the peace officer licensing exam annually has dropped more than 25% since 2015 and the number of people who have passed the exam has dropped 23% over that same time period, according to data from the Minnesota Police Officer Standards and Training Board (POST).

The MCPA launched the Wear the Badge initiative today during a discussion forum in Bloomington that focused on the future workforce and the sharing of current best practices in recruitment and retention, which include local efforts to help students explore careers in their hometowns and a statewide reimbursement program that encourages departments to hire men and women who make policing a “second career.” Nearly 100 law enforcement and community leaders across the state attended the forum in person or online.

“As chiefs leading rural, urban and suburban departments, we have a common challenge and need to consider different solutions collectively,” says Dan Hatten, the MCPA President and the chief of police in Hutchinson.  “Many smaller, rural agencies are concerned about losing veteran officers to larger departments.  Larger agencies are experiencing increased retirements as baby boomers age. We are also struggling to attain gender and racial diversity in our departments.”

The Wear the Badge campaign will include a series of short, authentic video profiles or mini-documentaries of Minnesota police officers at work explaining why they chose to Wear the Badge.  The videos were produced by the MCPA and will be distributed monthly through social media networks, statewide and community partnerships, law enforcement agencies and events and other channels.  The videos, along with blogposts, podcasts and career information, will be highlighted on wearthebadge.org.

“Technology is not only changing this career, it’s also changing the way people research police work and get their questions answered as they explore career options,” said Jeff Potts, Bloomington’s police chief and Vice President of the MCPA.  “Police work still ranks high as an opportunity to serve and make a difference in your local community. The Wear the Badge campaign will hammer home that message and we hope entice more Minnesotans to choose this honorable profession as their career.”

 

About the MCPA

The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association (MCPA) is a non-profit professional member organization whose mission is to provide the highest quality of police services and leadership to the people of Minnesota. The vision is to be the recognized voice for professional law enforcement in Minnesota. The MCPA represents approximately 500 police chiefs and command staff at municipal and state law enforcement agencies across Minnesota. For more, visit www.mnchiefs.org.

 

 

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The Executive Training Institute and Law Enforcement Expo returns to St. Cloud April 14 -17.  Below you will find information on hotels with available blocks of rooms.

  • Country Inn & Suites  320-252-8282 ask for MN Chiefs room block for ETI
  • Grandstay Hotel - 320-251-5400 ask for MN Chiefs room block for ETI
 

Dear MCPA Member:

Thank you for your support of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association and dedication to public safety.  I am reaching out to introduce you to a major new program the MCPA will launch December 12th, at our upcoming Critical Issues Forum.

As you might recall from member surveys and our Strategic Plan, the Minnesota Chiefs have been working on a comprehensive branding campaign aimed at telling the true story of what it is like to protect and serve at agencies of all sizes in the 21st Century.  While local and national research shows strong support for law enforcement, we all know this profession faces more scrutiny than ever.  We also live in an economy where jobs are plentiful and technology is rapidly changing police work.

With all of this in mind, we will launch a campaign called Wear the Badge on Wednesday the 12th.  Its major components will include a series of videos by Minnesota police officers and chiefs telling their personal stories of why they choose to wear the badge.  A web portal also called Wear the Badge will host those videos and provide information to help Minnesotans explore the world of law enforcement, including the various paths that can lead to a job as a police officer.

I am grateful for the work of the MCPA Branding Committee and our Board of Directors who have taken an active role in designing and preparing this campaign.  Our board has also approved a plan to partner with School Space Media, a company which produces live webcasts of high school sporting events in all 87 Minnesota counties.  This winter, our Wear the Badge campaign will be featured during halftime of hundreds of high school hockey, wrestling and basketball broadcasts.

To help ensure Wear the Badge is as successful as it can be, we are asking you and your agencies to make it a strong piece of your community outreach. We need you as our “force multipliers.”  MCPA will provide media kits along with talking points, newspaper columns and research.  We want Wear the Badge to be a strong part of your social media, community events and the work of your school resource officers.  Our goal is to give Minnesotans real stories from real officers that they can embrace and "like" on social media.  We also want to answer questions people have about police work including those who are considering law enforcement as as career.

While our team has done a lot of work to prepare this campaign, it will evolve as it moves forward.  Each of you has different challenges and concerns. Please do not hesitate to tell us how Wear the Badge will be most effective in your community.  And, because campaigns like this require a sustained effort, we also plan to fundraise to keep the story going.  If you know of organizations in your communities interested in supporting this initiative, we would appreciate the introduction.

Finally, please let us know the best way to follow up with you and your agency.  This single-question survey will help us identify the best contact at your agency and how you will utilize the campaign resources.  Also, if you have not yet registered for the Critical Issues Forum, please do that now The webcast link is on the left and in-person registration in the blue box to the right.



I am excited to see this campaign take off.  While you might have heard the phrase Wear the Badge elsewhere, I am not aware of any other state-level police association undertaking an effort quite like this.  We look forward to working on it together.
Sincerely,

 
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