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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Minn. legislators vote to end part-time police license

  • Minnesota could soon stop licensing part-time police officers who have the same power as their full-time counterparts but are required to have just 40 hours of training.
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  • Minnesota could soon stop licensing part-time police officers who have the same power as their full-time counterparts but are required to have just 40 hours of training.
    Some smaller cities rely on the part-time officers to fill key shifts and patrol local festivals. They wear police uniforms, carry a gun and can make arrests.
    Proponents of the bill say that putting officers on the street with just 40 hours of training is too risky.
    "You've got a person on the street that is authorized to take a life," said Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, a former police chief and the bill's author. "And we've seen so much controversy about that. With that great responsibility, you should have the two years of college and training."
    The state Senate passed a bill Wednesday that ends licensing for part-time officers this summer. The House previously passed the bill that needs Gov. Mark Dayton's signature. The legislation grandfathers current part-time officers, but they couldn't switch to another police department, the Star Tribune reported.
    Mankato's director of public safety, Todd Miller, said the department's eight part-timers have gone through extensive training alongside their full-time counterparts.
    "We use them in specific ways," Miller said. "They are to assist and be an additional resource to the full-time officers," freeing them for other work.
    Full-time officers are required to have a two-year degree in Minnesota.

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