Community Service Officer Program Continues Expansion

The Community Service Officers squad has also recently received a wrapped vehicle complete with Duluth's flag.

DULUTH, Minn. –  After being around for almost 20 years, the Community Service Officer program in Duluth took a big leap in 2018.

“We’ve gotten to the point where we have uniforms. We use radios. We even have access to a computer dispatch. It’s been an opportunity for us to learn the behind the scenes of the police department,” Community Service Officer, Boyd Billman says.

The program is designed to be a stepping stone for anyone who has the desire to become a police officer.

“There are very few entry-level jobs to learn how to be a police officer and things you’re going to encounter out on the street. Something like this really gives you an opportunity to learn what law enforcement experiences on a day to day basis,” Billman says.

Some of the fieldwork the CSO’s do is responding to low-risk calls, but because of the pandemic the calls they have been able to respond to have been reduced.

“All of our interactions at our headquarters location are done by phone. So that really helps our younger CSO’s to work on their communications skills to help de-escalate people over the phone,” Billman says.

Officers like Danielle Sauve say being a CSO helped ease her transition into becoming a police officer.

“Coming in as a new officer, it took that base layer of stress away because I already knew how to use the system. So I could focus on that next step like how to handle a call,” Duluth Police Officer, Danielle Sauve says.

The native Duluthian wanted to continue her passion for helping others and is close to her one year mark as an officer.

“It’s been a really different experience than most people have had. Despite what most people think it’s reassured me that I’m in the right line of work. You can go to the calls where people are really good at telling you that you did impact their life. For me trying to hold onto those moments and carry those with me I think is going to impact how I work through my whole career,” Sauve says.

Sauve knows that in times like these it’s important for people to get to know the person behind the badge.

“Every day trying to build relationships with the community I’m working in. I think that’s one of the biggest things is having a relationship with your community is going to show people who we are and what we are as a department.”

“The more people who see that the more people will see that, the more they will understand that we are here to help and we aren’t here to make it the worst day of your life. We’re there to respond on probably the worst day of your life and make it better.”

The Community Service Officers squad has recently received a wrapped vehicle complete with Duluth’s flag.

Community Service Officers have responded to over 1,000 calls each year since their expansion in 2018

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