Governor Walz Announces Funding for Peace Officer Training

Government and Politics

June 5, 2024

From: Minnesota Governor Timothy James Walz

ST. PAUL, MN - Governor Tim Walz today announced that 35 law enforcement agencies across the state will receive funding for the new Intensive Comprehensive Peace Officer Education and Training (ICPOET) Grant Program.

More law enforcement agencies are experiencing staffing shortfalls as officers retire, and fewer people are choosing to enter the profession.

“Law enforcement is a critical public service. We cannot keep our communities safe without trained, licensed officers – this program will help interested Minnesotans enter the profession,” said Governor Walz. “This funding is a demonstration of our commitment to support officer training and build a force that reflects the communities they serve.”

“Minnesotans deserve to feel safe no matter where they live,” said Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Commissioner Bob Jacobson. “Our goal is to provide this for them, but staffing challenges make this increasingly difficult.”

The agencies receiving this funding will sponsor 50 candidates with two- and four-year degrees who want to make a career transition into law enforcement. All candidates will attend an intensive, comprehensive training program at Alexandria Technical & Community College from Oct. 1 through February 2025 and Hennepin Technical College from Oct. 14 through March 2025. During this time, candidates will go through the same training that a traditional peace officer student completes.

“The incentives of this training program are plentiful,” said ICPOET Grant Administrator Mary Vukelich. “But this isn’t a free ride. Students will have to fully commit to this intensive and comprehensive curriculum that will give them the skills to become a licensed officer.”

Agencies are accepting applications and a number of them have already filled their sponsorships. Other agencies still have openings. People interested in becoming a peace officer should contact one of the following agencies as soon as possible to determine if they’re still looking for candidates. Recruiting deadlines vary but they are fast approaching. ICPOET candidates must be hired by September to begin training on time.

DPS’ Office of Justice Programs (OJP) has approved $2.5 million in grant funding for the agencies through this first cohort. $50,000 is available for each candidate. The funding covers salary and the cost of education. Agencies awarded grants include:

1. Belle Plaine Police
2. Big Stone County Sheriff
3. Blaine Police
4. Bloomington Police
5. Brooklyn Park Police
6. Carver County Sheriff
7. Chisago County Sheriff
8. Columbia Heights Police
9. Faribault Police
10. Freeborn County Sheriff
11. Hennepin County Sheriff
12. Hopkins Police
13. Lakeville Police
14. Lino Lakes Police
15. Maple Grove Police
16. Medina Police
17. Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Police
18. Minneapolis Police
19. Minneapolis-St. Paul Int’l Airport Police
20. Moorhead Police
21. New Brighton Police
22. Orono Police
23. Owatonna Police
24. Prairie Island Indian Community Police
25. Richfield Police
26. Rosemount Police
27. Roseville Police
28. Sartell Police
29. St. Louis Park Police
30. St. Paul Police
31. Wadena Police
32. Waseca County Sheriff
33. West Hennepin Public Safety
34. Woodbury Public Safety
35. Wyoming Police

The ICPOET Grant Program complements existing peace officer recruiting programs, including Pathway to Policing. The ideal ICPOET candidate is a non-traditional student who wants to work in law enforcement, but who faced challenges committing to the traditional 1.5 year-long education timeline. The ICPOET Grant Program can be completed in eight months or less.

“This is a win-win situation for everyone involved,” said Belle Plaine Police Chief Terry Stier. “Candidates will live out their dream of becoming a peace officer. Agencies are solving ongoing staffing challenges, and as a result, communities across Minnesota will be safer.”

This summer, OJP will offer another $2.25 million in funding for agencies interested in participating in the second cohort. The request for proposal (RFP) period will open on June 11 and close on July 31. Once grants are awarded, training will be offered from March through July 2025 and will take place at the schools mentioned above.