St. Cloud, MN – Senator Aric Putnam (DFL-St. Cloud) today outlined his push for policies that support public safety professionals and ensure people feel safe in their homes and communities. He is detailing the importance of keeping families, businesses, and communities safe as he prepares to meet with members of the community at Great River Library in St. Cloud on Thursday.
Sen. Putnam said that while some of his measures to improve public safety have been signed into law, he is still working hard to pass other public safety efforts in the current state legislative session.
Pressing to Boost Recruitment, Retention of Law Enforcement
Sen. Putnam said the past two years of the pandemic have been tough on everyone in Minnesota, especially the state’s front-line workers, with many in law enforcement retiring or leaving the profession. He is currently pursuing a variety of measures to boost the number of people entering the career and keep them on the job into the future.
“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. I’ve been working on these issues this whole year and I’m continuing to push measures to encourage the recruitment and retention of law enforcement officers and demonstrate our collective respect and gratitude for their work on our behalf every day.”
Sen. Putnam said his efforts include:
- Providing grants that allow communities to provide hiring bonuses of up to $10,000 per officer
- 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
- Tax exemptions on pension income to keep career officers on the job
Sen. Putnam’s proposals are in addition to the $500 million package of public safety bills put forward last month by DFL leaders that would not only reduce crime today, but also prevent crime tomorrow by investing in our communities, the courts, and the criminal justice system, and juvenile justice.
Several Bipartisan Public Safety Measures Already Signed Into Law
Sen. Putnam said several bipartisan public safety measures he authored or strongly supported have already been signed into law by Governor Walz. They include laws that:
- Fund the 180 Degrees program, which is a youth intervention program in St. Cloud
- Increase penalties for human trafficking and trespassing crimes
- Require a predatory offender’s record to be disclosed to hospice providers
Thursday’s town hall meeting will be held in the Bremer Community Room at Great River Regional Library, 1300 W St. Germain St. in St. Cloud. It is free and open to the public. Registration is not required to attend, though it is encouraged. Attendees can register at bitly.com/PutnamAprilTownHall