Duluth Police Expect to be at Full Strength of Force for First Time Since 1999
Police union says even more officers are needed to to better meet law enforcement demands
DULUTH, Minn. – The Duluth Police Department expects to be at full strength of force in the coming months for the first time in twenty years.
While it’s a big accomplishment, the police union says even more officers are needed to meet the demands of the job.
A Duluth Police Department spokesperson tells us this is an exciting time for the department. After the current ten-person recruitment class completes training, DPD will have one-hundred-fifty-seven officers, the first time it’s been at full strength of force since 1999.
This comes after the department has been in a recruitment crisis for several years with less young people wanting to pursue careers in law enforcement.
Duluth Police officials tell us what was once three-hundred applications for a series of open officer positions has dwindled to around one-hundred.
They say reaching their full force shows applicants are more interested in DPD, possibly because of a focus on building community relationships.
“Now it’s changed to community policing, a spirit of helpfulness, and I think that candidates are starting to see the gratifying work and the potential of having a career in law enforcement,” said Duluth Police Public Information Officer Ingrid Hornibrook.
Meanwhile, Duluth Police Union President Ryan Morris tells us additional officers will give current officers more time to decompress from the high-stress job.
He says while the department being at full strength is a good start, city leaders need to think about authorizing more officers for DPD and increasing officers’ pay to put them on par with similar sized departments.
“The larger numbers we have, the more time we can spend with victims, the more time we can spend with citizens and even do some of those extra things that we want to do with our community engagement,” said Morris, a Sergeant with DPD.
Morris believes eight to ten additional officers is a realistic goal that would put DPD closer to the force of some metro are departments.
The current recruitment class will start training at the academy on November 1st. It will be about seven months before they’re fully trained sworn officers and the department is officially at full strength.