MINNEAPOLIS — The Minneapolis Police Department is looking to its future after voters in the city decided not to disband or replace the department earlier this month.
In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Minneapolis police say they lost a third of the department.
"Yes, we have," said Commander Darcy Horn, who heads up the department's training division.
Horn says it's something she's never seen happen in her 25 years on the force.
In May of 2020, the department says they had 834 officers on the force — now there are 653.
"We are looking to hire 160 to 200 officers," said Horn.
A desire to hire, after 56% of Minneapolis voters voted in favor of keeping the department.
"It certainly was nice to see that vote of confidence from the community and we're excited to step up and fill that role," said Horn.
There's even been a number of officers looking to return to the force after the November vote.
"We are seeing returning officers," said Horn.
"If someone doesn't have any college education, but they want to become a police officer, we have a community service officer program," said Horn. "And if someone has a degree but it's not in law enforcement, we can meet them there with our cadet program," said Horn.
In addition to hiring, the department is actively working to keep the focus on police reform, which many city residents still want to see happen within the department.
"We're looking for those individuals that want to be a part of that movement and rebuilding the MPD; talking to people in the community and organizations throughout Minneapolis to help us recruit," said Horn. She went on to say, "The vote in November can show them that they have the confidence of the community to help."
That push for help comes at a time when both the city and the department's future are depending it.
"Now is the time to join us and help us move forward," said Horn.
There are currently 22 officers in the police academy, and the department wants to hire its first 40 full-time recruits in the next few weeks.
The applications for those first 40 positions closes Dec. 6.