WAITE PARK -- It's no secret police departments across the state are seeing a decline in recruiting officers over the last several years. However, several Minnesota departments are getting more creative.

Waite Park is one of several cities awarded a state grant to join the Pathway for Policing program.

Police Chief Dave Bentrud says this program flips the script from the typical hiring process.

Basically we are hiring a person who has a non-police related degree and paying them to go to school. They are essentially starting their career with us as a cadet and going through their skills training.

Bentrud says if you're selected to the program, you would be hired and paid a salary to attend 17 week's of schooling at Hennepin Technical College to learn how to become a police officer.

He says this is a new approach for them which he hope's sparks some interest for people wanting a career change.

This is designed for someone wanting to make a career change and has an interest in law enforcement but they have family obligations or can't afford to step away and go back to school and lose that income.

Bentrud says they are hoping to get a handful of interested candidates as they do have some openings within their department.

If you wish to apply for the program you must have a two-year degree from an accredited college or university in any subject, complete an interview process and pass a background check.

Applications can be found by calling the Waite Park police department 320-251-6300.

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