Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association President Dave Titus spoke with Liz Collin on AM 1280 The Patriot about the declining number of police officers across the state and some solutions for the current “crisis.”
MPPOA, the largest voice for officers in Minnesota, is “front row in the middle of all of this,” said Titus, an inspector for the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.
“We’re all suffering shortages of sworn personnel to varying degrees,” he said. “No matter where you’re at in the state, outstate, metro, there’s a statewide effect.”
Minneapolis is by far the worst, down 330 sworn officers since the riots of 2020, but cities across the state aren’t much better.
Golden Valley is in “extreme crisis mode,” Titus explained. The Golden Valley Police Department went from 31 sworn officers to 12, and they’re now down to seven cops left to respond to calls, according to Titus.
“God bless those cops that stayed there,” he commented.
The Rochester Police Department saw only 18 applicants in 2022 for 10 open spots. Compare this to 1996, when five open spots received 550 applicants, Titus explained.
Similarly, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office currently has 15 open positions with 21 applicants. Ideally, they would like to see 100 applicants for 15 sworn officer openings, Titus said.
Since the riots of 2020, the reasons for the profession’s decline haven’t changed, he said.
“We got vilified to the greatest degree that’s ever existed.”
Titus believes policing is an honorable job, as does every cop he’s ever worked with, but the rhetoric against cops caused “extreme stress” for officers and their families.
“So we have people leaving earlier than normal for different professions altogether, or retiring at the age of when you’re first eligible at 50, instead of sticking around until you’re 55.”
Titus was hired as a cop about 30 years ago when many people were beginning their careers as police officers. Now, those people are retiring as quickly as they can.
The number-one solution to the declining numbers is fixing the rhetoric, Titus said.
“If we see something that we don’t like, the use of force on camera, we have to be careful how we approach it. We can’t automatically find an officer guilty, and we can’t automatically find our profession across the board guilty,” he explained.
Titus would like to see officers staying on the force until age 55 at a minimum to help the profession “get past this crisis,” he said.
Also, standards and educational requirements cannot be lowered.
“If we go that route we will be suffering in 10, 15, 20 years with extremely low-quality police officers,” Titus said.