When Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington addressed a group of new officers at the department’s latest swearing-in ceremony, he told them a "transformation" had taken place.
"When you came to my office as job seekers you seemed a little nervous, a little less sure," he said. "But you have stood tall and you have passed every test that we have thrown at you."
As the department’s newest full-time officers can attest, there were plenty of trials, too.
Before receiving their badges in front of family, friends and colleagues, the officers had successfully completed several weeks of training as part of the department’s customized academy program.
The department’s academy comes in addition to higher education and state training that all aspiring officers must complete to become a licensed peace officer in Minnesota. The goal is to ground officers in the department’s expectations and help prepare them for the unique challenges they will face working in transit.
Transit Police work in communities around the metro region, patrolling on board buses and trains, in squad cars, on foot and on bike. Transit Police are available to respond to any and all calls in the department's service area.
To prepare them for their full-time roles, the department's academy includes courses on firearms, combatives and emergency vehicle operations. Officers also spend time learning about community outreach and cultural awareness.
"We try to give everybody a skill set and ground them in what we believe is right," said Lt. Jason Lindner, who oversees the department’s academy program. "We provide them a good solid base and give them different tools they can build on from there."
Among the dozen officers who completed the department’s spring academy was Michael Affeldt. Though he had already spent more than a year as a Community Service Officer, Affeldt said he felt much more prepared to begin his full-time role after going through the academy.
"I’m feeling very confident in my abilities," he said. "I think that’s one of the best things about the academy – it not only builds your skills it builds your confidence."
The department’s next academy is tentatively scheduled to begin in mid-September. To learn more opportunities at the Metro Transit Police Department visit metrotransit.org/police.
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