The Minneapolis Police Department's first class of recruits in three years has begun its training.
The 12 men and one woman -- five black, one Hispanic and one American Indian -- began preparation Monday and will graduate from the academy in January before moving on to field training.
"This will be the first of a number of classes that will begin within the next few years as retirements within the Police Department accelerate," said Sgt. William Palmer, a department spokesman. "This will ensure that staffing ... continues at its current level of approximately 850 sworn officers."
The application period for the next recruit class was closed this month. More than 600 people applied for 25 to 30 openings.
Assistant Chief Janeé Harteau -- who succeeds Tim Dolan as police chief at year's end -- welcomed the new recruits Monday morning, saying, "Hiring candidates with this level of talent and diversity is important to the trust we have built within the diverse population that is Minneapolis."