ST. CLOUD -- Being a law enforcement officer is a very challenging job even under the best of circumstances, but this year with the protests and rioting and calls for change by some have made it even more difficult.

While established professionals are out on the job there's another crop of future cops going through the Criminal Justice program at St. Cloud State University right now.

Assistant Professor Shawn Williams says what's been happening in our country over the past several months is a hot topic of discussion in his classroom.

We are at a time that unless you've been an officer for more than 40 years dating back to the riots of the 1960s that no one working in the state of Minnesota has seen the things that we're seeing right now.  There's no one that's sworn in as a peace officer that can say this has happened before.  This is different.

Williams says there are over 300 students enrolled in the Criminal Justice Program at SCSU. They have an over 80 percent job placement rate for graduates of the program.

The Minnesota State system recently announced the formation of a task force on law enforcement education reform. St. Cloud State University, along with Minnesota State - Mankato, has two of the largest programs in the system. Williams says he'd like to know exactly what it is that this task force is trying to accomplish.

What do you want to see done by the voices that are in the room?  That's the biggest question.  If I'm right there are only two or three officers on the board.  So there are individuals outside the field of law enforcement in this, which some would say is great and some would say is not great.  What's the purpose?  We don't really know yet.

SCSU President Robbyn Wacker has been named as a member of this new task force.

Williams says it's hard to know what changes will eventually be made in the policing field, but society will always need an aspect of law enforcement.

He says SCSU's criminal justice program has always been very diverse, including the faculty.

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