Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,500,000)
The City of Saint Paul Police Department (SPPD) requests support for its Community Law Enforcement Career Initiative, aka the Law Enforcement Career Path Academy (LECPA). The LECPA works in partnerships with a post-secondary institution and a work force development partner, with the aim to make the city’s law-enforcement more representative of the communities served, and to open career opportunities for members of low-income and underrepresented communities from Saint Paul and the Twin Cities metro area.
Using an earn-as-you-learn approach, the SPPD covers tuition for three initial courses that students take for placement into entry level employment in the field. The SPPD employs them as a Community Engagement Cadet, providing valuable experience in the communities they will eventually serve. At the same time, the partner institutions support these individuals as they pursue a two-year degree required for licensure as a police officer. The post-secondary partner helps guide their academic progress. And the work force partner helps keep them on track even if life stressors arise.
The LECPA’s first cohort started in the summer of 2017 and has a strong record of success recruiting individuals from traditionally underrepresented communities. Of the 125 individuals who have been part of LECPA to date, 94% are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous or People of Color), 38% identify as female or non-binary, 81% were low income when they started, and 57% had taken no prior college courses before entering the program.
Moreover, the LECPA has been successful in guiding its members in their career development. 62% have completed, or are still making progress towards, a post-secondary degree. Of the 27 LECPA members who have qualified for, and passed, the Police Office Standards and Training (POST) Exam so far, 23 are BIPOC, 9 are female or non-binary, 21 were low income when they started, and 11 had no prior college coursework before entering the program.
A total of 21 former LECPA members have become SPPD officers to date. Another four are sworn officers with other law enforcement agencies, and at least 19 report employment in related occupations, such as civilian law enforcement positions or security.
An eighth LECPA cohort is planned for summer 2022; we anticipate maintaining a group of roughly 25 members over the life of this grant.
The SPPD requests a grant of $1,500,000 to support this innovative and successful program.