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Female officers make their mark as Minneapolis PD swears in recruits


The newest graduating class of Minneapolis police cadets may have set a record for the number of women in the group, according to a Facebook announcement from the department.

KSTP said there were eight women officers in Tuesday night's graduating class, a record number for the Minneapolis Police Department.

Sgt. Steven Bantle, who oversees the police academy, was quoted in the Facebook update as saying he's "never had a class with this many female recruits."

What's more, the 26 new officers bring the department closer to "full staffing levels," a welcome change for a force whose numbers dropped below 800 this year – which KSTP says is a "25-year low" for Minneapolis.

The Star Tribune reports police departments across the state have seen a drop in applications amid "nationwide scrutiny" of police, and concerns about the safety of those who wear the badge.

Some believe the hiring of more female officers might help resolve that situation and improve police-community relations.

According to MPR, researchers say women officers are "less authoritarian" than their male counterparts and can be "better at defusing a potentially violent confrontation."

The news service says women make up about 11 percent of Minnesota's 10,000 law enforcement officers, and that some in the state – including Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau, the city's first female in that position – want police departments to hire more.

Minneapolis' newest cops, the department says, went through a "rigorous" 30-week training program and will be ready to hit the streets on Thursday.

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