UNDATED -- A new scholarship program has been started with the goal of trying to attract more people into a career in law enforcement.

Minnesota Chiefs of Police Foundation spokesman Andy Skoogman says police departments all across the state are struggling to find qualified candidates.

I would say that we are in a state of crisis in terms of recruitment and retention of police officers, not only in Minnesota but across the country.  We're seeing fewer people than ever before applying to become police officers, we're seeing more officers leaving their departments, in many cases leaving the profession.

Skoogman says the foundation started the Wear the Badge campaign about a year ago, which is both a public relations and human resources campaign.

And the goal is really to try and tell the true story, the real story, an authentic story of what it's really like to be a police officer in the twenty-first century in Minnesota.  We see so many negative stories about law enforcement.

They will offer $500 scholarships to students not currently enrolled in a post-secondary law enforcement program.  Also, $1,000 scholarships will be available to students already studying law enforcement.

You can apply for the scholarships through January 21st. The first class of recipients will be named in the spring during the Minnesota Chiefs of Police statewide awards banquet.

Enter your number to get our mobile branded app