Rehired officers look like Minneapolis

I’m very pleased that this week, we rehired eight rookie police offices whom we had to lay off in late 2009 because of budget cuts, just as they were beginning their careers. I’m especially happy that six of these eight officers are people of color, and that one is a woman.

For years now, we have been firmly committed to making the Minneapolis Police department look like the communities that it works hard to keep safe, and our efforts are paying off: now more than 19% of Minneapolis police officers are people of color. While that still doesn’t represent the percentage of people of color in our city, which is more than 40%, it’s a higher proportion of police officers of color than we’ve ever had in our history. This is good progress that we can be proud of.

It’s also progress that one of the newly-rehired officers is a woman. Our force is now 16% women — and while that’s still not good enough, we also have more women officers today than we have ever had in our history.

We’ve made good progress on public safety in Minneapolis: violent crime has fallen by double-digit percentages for each of the last six years, and in 2011, violent crime fell to a 28-year low. While we have serious concerns — above all, that it’s far too easy to get and use a gun — and while even one crime is too many, our work in partnering with community to make everyone safer is paying off. Thanks goes to Minneapolis police officers, led by Chief Tim Dolan, and to the many unsung residents who work hard every day to make their communities safer.

Please join me in welcoming officers Bowen Barnard, Kong Moua, Abubakar Muridi, Christopher Reiter, Tou Thao, Lincoln Vincent, Jeffery Webb and Yolanda Wilks as they join the ranks of the men and women who work with our communities to make Minneapolis a safe place to call home.

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