by Evan Stambaugh
The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) is recruiting civilians who would like to do investigation work.
According to a job posting, the MPD is looking for a case investigator able to do both office and field work. The required qualifications are at least two years of “investigative experience including actual interviewing” and “post-secondary education in Criminal Justice, Sociology or Psychology or equivalent.”
“This position, under supervision of the Minneapolis Police Department or Police Lieutenant, will investigate criminal and administrative cases and prepare reports and other documents,” the job description says. “These are temporary assignments that can last up to 1 year. We offer both full and part time job opportunities.”
Officer Garrett Parten, public information officer for the Minneapolis police, told Alpha News that these case investigators, who won’t possess any law enforcement powers, will serve in support roles to free up current investigators for more law enforcement work.
“We are seriously thinking [about how] to increase public safety service to our community, and we’re going to do that by supplementing the great work of our investigators, who are very busy and working tirelessly to solve crimes and hold people accountable for their bad behavior,” he said.
Alpha News also spoke with Sherral Schmidt, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis. She attributed the hiring of civilian investigators to staffing issues and expressed concerns about putting them in the field.
“What happens when you find a suspect and need to obtain a warrant?” she said. “What if you encounter someone who’s not so cooperative?”
Schmidt added this appears to be a subtle way of “defunding the police” without necessarily “doing it formally.”
Recently the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and State Patrol have begun helping Minneapolis police in pursuing suspected violent criminals and working through the significant backlog of case investigations as well.
Across all shifts and city precincts, only 270 Minneapolis officers are responding to 911 calls, according to Schmidt. Additionally, many of the MPD’s “discretionary assignments” — various proactive measures undertaken by officers on duty — have been set aside so the understaffed department can prioritize 911 calls.
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Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.
Photo “Minneapolis Police Department” by Tony Webster. CC BY 2.0.