Senators Karla Bigham (DFL- Cottage Grove), and Aric Putnam (DFL-St. Cloud) said today that they will continue to press legislation to deal with the shortage of police officers in communities across the state with measures to help Minnesota communities recruit officers and keep them on the job.
The two lawmakers said the past two years have been tough on everyone in Minnesota, especially the state’s front-line workers, with many in law enforcement retiring or leaving the profession. They said they will push a variety of measures to boost the number of people entering the career and keep them on the job into the future, including providing hiring bonuses, mortgage benefits for officers who live in the communities they serve, free community college tuition for those who study criminal justice and move into law enforcement. They also plan to propose tax exemptions on pension income to keep career officers on the job
“The past two years have been tough on everyone, especially our front-line workers, including police officers. Many have left for other careers, creating shortages that we need to fill,” said Senator Bigham. “This should not be a partisan issue because it is happening in communities across the state. We want to help those communities recruit and train the officers they need to ensure the safety of all Minnesotans. As we move forward in the session, we plan to work with members of the House and with our colleagues in the Senate on both sides of the aisle. This is a serious problem and we need to solve to ensure public safety across our state.”
“We have a workforce shortage in law enforcement, and we’ve seen too many officers retire from this important work in the past two years and it has impacted public safety,” said Sen. Putnam. “With fewer people entering the profession, we have work to do to attract the people we need to protect our communities. The measures we will continue to push will encourage the recruitment and retention of law enforcement officers and demonstrate our collective respect and gratitude for their work on our behalf every day.”