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Police departments look to diversify their forces with an accelerated training program

It's aimed at bringing in "nontraditional candidates."

Some Twin Cities police departments want to add diversity to their forces to better represent the people they serve.

To do that, Bloomington and St. Louis Park departments are using a program called Pathways to Policing.

It's an accelerated training program aimed at bringing in some "nontraditional candidates."

“As Bloomington becomes more diverse, we needed to develop a new approach to hiring police officers that would help us keep pace with a changing community,” Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts said in a statement. “The new program will help us meet this need and ensure that our police force is more reflective of all of the people we serve.”

The program seeks to assist those who are qualified and interested in a career in law enforcement, but may not have the means to pay for or attend the traditional two-year training.

It's modeled after a program the Minnesota State Patrol has been using.

So candidates with at least an associate's degree can go through the program at Hennepin Technical College. And it knocks the training time down from two years to four months.

During that time, the students are even paid wages and benefits.

There are currently 12 students training from participating agencies of Bloomington, St. Louis Park, Eagan, Metropolitan Airports Commission, Maplewood, and Hastings.

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