A family member pins a badge on a newly sworn-in Minneapolis police officer during a graduation ceremony on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Libor Jany/Star Tribune
Minneapolis police Chief Janeé Harteau welcomed the latest crop of rookie officers in a graduation ceremony on the city’s South Side Tuesday.
In doing so, Harteau cautioned the class of 25 new cops — 19 men and six women — that the police profession was under scrutiny as never before, but its mission remained the same: to serve and protect the public.
“We’re guardians, we’re protectors of the peace and sometimes we’re warriors,” she said. “What you do matters, but how you do it matters just as much.”
Harteau spoke before more than 300 relatives, friends, fellow officers and Mayor Betsy Hodges, as well as city councilmembers John Quincy, Barb Johnson and Blong Yang, who heads the Public Safety committee. The swearing-in ceremony took place in an airy hall at St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church.
The class began at the academy in March with 29 recruits, officials said, and completed over 1,200 hours of training in seven months at the police academy. The 25 graduates will begin their assignments in all five of the city’s police precincts.
They come from various backgrounds. A third of the officers are minorities or women, who left jobs as security guards, college admissions counselors and firefighters. Between them, they speak seven different languages: German, Spanish, Arabic, Hmong, Norwegian, Japanese and Chinese.
Four have earned master’s degrees, while 16 have their bachelor’s degree.
One, Christopher Flack, has a PhD in medieval literature. Flack, who can read Gothic, old Norse and Latin and taught classes in classic literature at Metropolitan State University and Carleton College, said that he became interested in law enforcement in the last few years.
He said he sees important parallels between the two professions, which both require “dealing with a variety of personalities.”
“In the same way here, it’s dealing with people,” he said.
The new officers boosted the department's strength to 845, with another class of 31 recruits expected to graduate in December.