One of Minnesota’s public university systems has ordered its schools to remove any and all references to “law enforcement.”
Administrators at Hennepin Technical College, a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, informed staff members who teach law enforcement courses of the change in a recent email.
“One of the changes is that law enforcement has to be taken out of everything,” the email reads. “Meaning the website, business cards, sign out front, directional signs to the building and so on.”
The email specifies that the Minnesota State system is requiring Hennepin Tech and other affected schools to pay for the change themselves.
These changes stem from recommendations made in February 2021 by Minnesota State’s “Taskforce on Law Enforcement Education Reform,” which was convened in August 2020 after the death of George Floyd. Minnesota State says it educates 86% of Minnesota’s law enforcement officers in various programs across its 54 campuses. These programs are being completely revamped, according to a report issued by the task force.
The report identifies “creating anti-racist law enforcement education programs” as one of the top objectives.
“Rename Minnesota State Law Enforcement Programs to Peace Officer Training Programs,” one of the recommendations in the report says.
The report also calls for removing “paramilitary language from all law enforcement education programs, courses and training.”
Further changes include incorporating “cultural competency” into the curriculum and requiring “anti-racist education courses [to be] a part of the core set of course requirements for law enforcement programming.”
The emphasis on “anti-racism” will apply to teacher training and continuing education courses, too.
“All continuing education offerings will address cultural competency, social and political oppression, and racism and will incorporate examination of implicit and explicit bias over the course of an officer’s career,” says one of the report’s recommendations.
“Require professional development for all Minnesota State faculty and staff in anti-racist education,” adds another.
In an email to Alpha News, a Hennepin Tech spokesperson said the changes are “designed to focus on a holistic approach to community service and provide future peace officers the needed knowledge and skills to be successful in the field.”
“As a part of the Minnesota State Law Enforcement Education Reform recommendations, colleges and universities have been working to make a curriculum and culture shift from law enforcement programs to peace officer and public safety programs,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said these changes align “with the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board — the external accreditation agency who certifies all peace officer programs in the state of Minnesota, not just programs within the Minnesota State system.”
Another source with insider knowledge of the situation told Alpha News that law enforcement course instructors were told the phrase “law enforcement” is “triggering” to certain people.
The source said he knows of one skills course, the last step in training to become a police officer, that only has 20% of the students it normally has. A typical number of students in the course is 125, but currently there are around 25.
According to a Minnesota State document, schools were required to begin implementing the recommended changes in April. This October, the schools are required to furnish “final evidence to demonstrate program alignment with Taskforce recommendations resulting in an evaluation for a program name change to Professional Peace Officer Program.”