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Bloomington, St. Louis Park receive League of Minnesota Cities City of Excellence Award for Pathways

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June 28, 2018
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (June 28, 2018) —The cities of Bloomington and St. Louis Park were recognized at the League of Minnesota Cities annual conference with a 2018 City of Excellence Award for their Pathways to Policing joint effort.

In early 2017, Bloomington and St. Louis Park were experiencing a reduced number of police officer applications and saw an opportunity to collaborate. The result was a program created to recruit more applicants and to attract more people of color and non-traditional candidates. The joint initiative won this year’s topical category of “Promoting Leadership and Career Opportunities in City Government.”

The program, called the “Suburban Law Enforcement Training Academy (SLETA) - Pathways to Policing,” was designed to remove barriers for non-traditional candidates who have at least a two-year associate degree from an accredited college or university, and who are interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement. The program focused on candidates without the means to pay for, or availability to attend a law enforcement academic program while in their current careers.

The Bloomington and St. Louis Park police departments developed the program with their cities’ human resource departments prior to inviting other agencies. Sponsoring departments provided trainees with mentors to keep them engaged, and Hennepin Technical College provided support during training.

The cities were intentional in marketing the program to a diverse pool of applicants. The program was promoted in many languages, in various communities and on numerous job search websites. The cities also held information sessions for potential applicants to learn more about the program prior to applying.

More than 482 applications were received and more than 380 candidates interviewed. After two rounds of interviews, job offers were made to 12 candidates; exceeding the initial goal of eight final candidates.

During the 2017 state legislative session, the state appropriated money to help agencies offset program costs. There are plans to conduct another SLETA this fall.

To compete for consideration as a City of Excellence, cities self-nominate a project, program or initiative administered to achieve one or more of the following: improvement of the quality of a city service, development of an effective or innovative way to solve an old or common problem, modification of a program from another community or organization to fit city needs, discovery of a way to save the city money without compromising service results, and/or creative involvement of city staff or citizens in making a decision.
Jeff Potts, Bloomington Chief of Police