Training New Minneapolis Police Recruits     

The City of Minneapolis requires more than a year of training before swearing in a new police officer.[1]

This training includes 14-16 weeks at the Minneapolis Police Academy, whose website says it is “structured as a paramilitary program” (emphasis added) with written and practical testing covering the following topics:

  • Defensive Tactics
  • Community Orientated Policing
  • Firearms
  • Defensive Driving
  • Report Writing
  • Ethics
  • Traffic Enforcement
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Physical Training.

After graduation from the Academy, they are promoted to Officer rank for an additional six months of Field Training with an experienced officer.

Minneapolis Commander Charles Adams, a 34-year veteran in charge of recruitment and training new recruits on community engagement, said the video of the physical restraint of George Floyd made him think “murder,” a widespread sentiment within the Department even among officers who usually urge a wait-and-see approach when colleagues are accused of wrongdoing. This incident also damaged improvements in teaching new recruits to be more accountable to communities like the predominantly black North Side where Adams grew up.

This effort includes implicit bias training, discussions of the aggressive policing tactics of the 1960s that damaged public trust in law enforcement and a simulated video of an officer talking disrespectfully to a black motorist only to learn later that she was the wife of a high-ranking police officer.

Nevertheless, “many of the nation’s police academies and 18,000 departments have long emphasized a warrior mentality, with officers trained for battle and equipped with the gear and weapons of modern warfare. This helps to create a warrior culture with training on firearms, self-defense and use of force.” It also “reinforces a ‘thin blue line’ police culture perpetuated in many departments by higher-ups and unions. “There’s just this constant reiteration that cops are in constant danger,” said  Randy Shrewsberry, Executive Director of the Institute for Criminal Justice Training Reform.

The Minneapolis Department last year banned warrior-style training, but its police union offers to pay for officers to receive it from outside vendors.

Andrew Arashiba, an American-Japanese citizen and a former Minneapolis police officer, is suing the City for racial and age discrimination. He has said a training officer told him not to activate his body camera at times when it was required unless he had notified other officers first and also scolded him for not using force against a drunken older man, “You missed a free slap.”

A former Minneapolis police inspector, Michael Friestleben, said the “emphasis on officer safety in training can make officers feel as though they will constantly be under attack in the streets, and that can be a barrier to developing meaningful relationships with the communities they serve.”


[1] Minneapolis Police Department, Minneapolis Police Academy; Eligon & Levin, In Minneapolis, Looking for Police Recruits Who Can Resist Warrior Culture, N.Y. Times (June 19, 2020).