State cancels Patrol Academy due to lack of funding

There will be fewer officers on the roads in Minnesota due to a lack of funding.

This month, the Minnesota State Patrol announced that it has canceled its annual police academy training “due to lack of funding.”

“The decision, which will effectively thin the ranks of the state law enforcement agency by several dozen, is the second noteworthy cut in state services resulting from looming state budget shortfalls, courtesy of the coronavirus pandemic and its resulting hammer on the economy and state tax revenues,” the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported.

The Minnesota State Patrol has approximately 600 troopers, on average. Approximately 35 troopers are expected to leave this year and an additional 35 are expected to leave the following year. According to the Pioneer Press, this is the average attrition rate.

“Each 15- to 17-week academy costs between $4.5 million and $5.5 million. (Last year’s academy trained 32 future troopers for $4.9 million.) The State Patrol can’t afford that, given current financial projections that foresee a $2.4 billion hole in the current two-year statewide budget and a $4.7 billion hole for the following two years,” the Pioneer Press reported.

“Without a 2021 academy, the State Patrol will need additional funds to offer a larger than normal academy in 2022 in order to fill all vacant positions,” DPS spokesman Bruce Gordon said in a statement Tuesday. “It is our hope that the Legislature will provide this funding to ensure we have the necessary troopers on Minnesota roads.”

In addition, the lack of new officers will likely put a strain on the current police force and would require current police to work more hours to provide coverage for the officers who have left the force, creating a greater need for more payroll funding.

In a communication with would-be police academy attendees, Capt. Eric Barthel told prospective students that they hope to resume enrollment in January.

Earlier this year, the Minneapolis City Council reported plans to disband the city’s police department.

“According to the Associated Press, on Sunday, a majority of the members of the Minneapolis City Council declared that they support disbanding the city’s police department. Lisa Bender, the city council president, said, ‘It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe. Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period.’ Bender added that the city council is committed to terminating Minneapolis’ relationship with the police force,” Forbes wrote.

Earlier this month, the owner of an Illinois trucking company appeared on a popular cable news show to talk about steps that he is taking to keep his employees safe.

Chigago-based JKC Trucking co-owner Mike Kucharski appeared on “Fox and Friends First” to talk about a company policy to direct truck drivers to avoid picking up or delivering loads to cities that are pushing to defund or disband police departments.

“If they Defund the Police in Minneapolis, JKC trucks won’t go there.” -Meet the owner of a trucking company who refuses…

Posted by Fox & Friends First on Wednesday, August 5, 2020

“Our first priority is to support our drivers and their safety when they are on the road,” Kucharski explained.

Kucharski points to the fact that truckers haul valuable goods and says that when you’re out on the road, “there’s no safe place” for drivers to go. Without police to protect drivers, he says it’s just too dangerous.

Many truck drivers agree. On June CDLLife polled our App audience. We asked drivers, “Would you pick up/deliver to cities with defunded or disbanded police departments? Why or why not?”

We had more than 1,283 respondents. 79% of respondents said they will refuse loads to cities with disbanded or defunded police departments.