Recruits graduate from Police Academy

The Minneapolis Police Department honored 32 new officers at Friday’s graduation ceremony.

by Amber Kispert

Officer Jeremy Foster spent 15 weeks in the Minneapolis Police Academy learning how to “serve and protect” the community.

“It was everything; it was fun, discouraging, it was disappointing,” he said. “Just everything is the best way to describe it.”

On Friday, Foster and 31 other Minneapolis Police Department recruits stood up in front of their friends and family at the Minneapolis Convention Center to take their oaths and receive their badges at the MPA 2008 winter recruits’ graduation ceremony.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak came out to honor the new officers and welcome them to the community.

“You have a responsibility to the community that surrounds you,” he said. “You can make this a safe place to call home.”

This year’s graduating class is one of diversity, Sgt. Shannon Barnette said, with 16 percent women and 28 percent minority officers.

“We need to recognize that this class represents many different people and cultures in a city of many different people and cultures,” Rybak said.

This graduating class also included 20 recruits who had prior police experience.

Regardless of experience, just getting to the graduation ceremony is no easy task for any police recruit, Barnette said.

In order to even get into the MPA, recruits have to meet the required physical standards, which include being able to lift 102 pounds or 60 percent of their body weight, running 300 meters in 82 seconds, be able to run a mile and a half in 15 minutes and 44 seconds, and being able to do 30 sit ups, 25 pushups and reach 13 inches in the vertical jump.

Once in the MPA, recruits must then endure 15 weeks of strenuous and physically demanding training, including defensive tactics, firearms, physical training, defensive driving and ethics.

This class originally had 38 recruits, but six of them failed to complete the program, Barnette said.

“They’re constantly scrutinized and put under pressure,” she said. “Just physically, it’s too much.”

Even after spending a year working as a trooper for the Minnesota State Patrol, Officer Aimee Colgrove said the MPA physical aspects were still demanding.

“The physical part for me was kind of tough; it was grueling for me,” she said. “But Ö everything that you go through, including being tased and all that, in the end, you know that you are there for a reason.”

Foster said the most difficult part of the MPA was maintaining his state of mind.

“It’s just keeping the right mindset through the whole thing and keeping your head in the game the whole way,” he said. “I knew I was there for a purpose; I knew I could get through it.”

Colegrove and Foster said the camaraderie between the other recruits made all the difference between success and failure.

The recruits became like a family, and that is essential, Colegrove said.

“You can trust them with your life,” she said. “That is the biggest compliment you can give anyone.”

At the end of 15 weeks of training, all recruits must meet a different set of physical standards, including being able to lift 150 pounds or 82 percent of their weight, do 28 pushups, 35 sit ups, reach 16 inches in the high jump, run 300 meters in 69 seconds, and run a mile and a half in 14 minutes and 43 seconds.

Colegrove and Foster, along with the other recruits, will now begin the five-month Field Training Program in order to better prepare themselves to serve.

Minneapolis police Chief Tim Dolan said he has the utmost faith in the new officers.

“Protect with courage and serve with compassion,” he said. “I look forward to seeing you on the street.”