Lawmakers aim to help law enforcement agencies recruit officers as applicants dwindle

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(ABC 6 News) – Many law enforcement agencies across the state have struggled to recruit and retain police officers for years, but new legislation passed in the last few days has state leaders ready to help.

Ten years ago, Lt. Paul Gronholz says he applied to be an officer with Rochester Police Department amongst hundreds of other applicants.

Today, however, it’s a different story.

“It’s definitely a full-time job finding and recruiting individuals to work here,” said Lt. Gronholz.

He says while the department is fully staffed, applicants are few and far between.

“Certainly the numbers of candidates are less than they used to be,” he added.

It’s a similar story at the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Department.
Officials say what was also once hundreds of applicants for an open position, is now down to an average of 12 people per position.

But lawmakers say 8.8 million dollars of help is on the way
“The public safety bill and tax bill both send direct support to local counties and cities around public safety. It’s geared towards getting the money in the hands of our cities and counties and the people who know what each community needs,” explained Rep. Kim Hicks (DFL – Rochester).