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Minn. could offer $20K in student loan relief to help with LEO staffing shortages

The omnibus bill also offers up to $50,000 in education and training reimbursements to law enforcement agencies



By Bill Carey

SAINT PAUL, Minn. — State lawmakers on working on financial incentives to deal with a shortage of law enforcement officers across the state.

A public safety omnibus bill includes several provisions to address staffing challenges. One provision would allow a peace officer candidate to apply for up to $20,000 in student loan debt relief after two years on the job, KTSP reported.

“Over the last four, five, six years the number of people that have started college programs, that have wanted to get into law enforcement, that number has shrunk drastically,” said Jeff Potts, the executive director of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association.

Another provision would allow law enforcement agencies to be reimbursed up to $50,000 dollars for the cost of educating, training, paying and insuring an eligible peace officer candidate.

Carver County Sheriff Jason Kamerud said they hire one or two candidates per year through their cadet program.

“We hire them and pay them to be a student until they get their license done and then we bring them in and run them through our field training program and put them out into solo patrol,” said Kamerud. “It’s very difficult to work full time, make your mortgage payment, be your kids’ baseball coach and go to college to get this. We offset that by hiring them as a cadet, their job is to go to school, and they’re still allowed to fulfill their family obligations.”

The Minnesota House and Senate are meeting in conference committees to work on differences in the public safety omnibus bill.