The City of Roseville and its Police Department is increasing efforts to build a diverse police force that reflects the community. On February 11, the City Council approved a Commitment to Diversity Staffing Program.
Roseville has 48 sworn police officers, nine administrative staff and four community services officers. Over the past several years, the department has implemented steps to increase the diversity of its staff, with an emphasis on creating opportunities for ethnic minorities and women to overcome barriers to employment in the law enforcement field.Community Service Officers (CSOs), who support police officers, are students enrolled in law enforcement or a criminal justice program. Since 2013, CSOs have been required to speak a second language that is most common in the Roseville Area School District (Hmong, Karen, Somali, Spanish or Thai) or have extensive experience living or working with communities of color.The city invests considerable time and money when hiring and training CSOs. The Police Department can identify areas of strengths and weaknesses and work with CSOs to improve their skills. Roseville CSOs have a reputation for being well trained and are often sought after by other police departments.The Roseville Police Department also has a Reserve Officer program. It is made up of men and women from all backgrounds who volunteer their time to supplement uniformed patrol operations. Many reserve officers have been hired as police officers in Roseville and other communities.Under the Diversity Staffing Program, the Police Department will be able to retain qualified community service and reserve officers through a merit-based system once they are eligible to be licensed as an officer in the state of Minnesota.Under the commitment to diversity program, the city can increase its complement of police officers by up to two additional officers than is currently authorized in order to promote qualified CSOs or reserve officers. Once other officers retire or move on, those vacancies would not be filled and the police force would return to its authorized strength.The Police Department anticipates at least one CSO being ready for fulltime employment later this year, and another in 2020. Rather than losing those young recruits, the Police Department would hire them if they meet all qualifications.“In Roseville, 14% of our police officers are from communities of color and 29% are female. The US Census Bureau estimated that in 2016, 26% of Roseville residents were persons of color and 52% female,” said Police Chief Rick Mathwig.“We have taken great strides over the years to address this issue, especially related to our part-time CSOs. We have rich history of hiring CSOs and reserve officers as police officers. All of Roseville’s current CSOs are considered minorities in law enforcement. The commitment to the diversity program is a large step forward, and I think it gets us ahead of the curve in delivering quality public safety services to the community we serve,” said Mathwig.