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Race Equity and Police Accountability

Diversity in the Woodbury Police Department
Over the last five years, the City of Woodbury has been building strategies to recruit and hire more diverse candidates for positions across the city. It is our firm belief that a diverse workforce creates a better spirit of community, shared ideas and increased creativity. By implementing open and inclusive employment practices and policies, our hope is to attract and retain talented staff from all groups and help us respond appropriately to changing needs and goals in the community.

Here are some of our efforts related specifically to Public Safety:

  • Public Safety Internship: Actively recruit diverse, qualified candidates; adjust qualifications to encourage more applicants and compensate for systemic flaws and bias in education pipeline; offer additional paid positions to provide more opportunities for diverse candidates.
  • Community Service Officer (CSO) hiring: Seek and recruit diverse candidates; transition interns to CSO; consider starting a CSO applicant as an intern to provide coaching and mentoring to be better prepared for a CSO position in the future. Give preference points to bilingual candidates.
  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Academy: Encourage non-white people to gain experience and education in EMS. Consider graduates for paid-on-call fire positions, internships and CSO positions. 
  • Interview Process: Include interview questions, reviewed by the Multicultural Advisory Committee, that speak directly to experience with race equity and cultural competence. Train hiring panels in implicit bias.
  • Recruitment: Post open positions with the Post Board, colleges, government job boards, Send to professional associations like National Black Police Officers Association of MN and Minnesota Asian Police Officers Association.
View the demographic make-up of Woodbury police officers

Officer accountability
In order to ensure accountability and reduce racial disparities in public safety, the City is committed to hiring the right people, continuing education and training, and stringent documentation, review, and compliance around use of force. The hiring and training standards for Woodbury exceed the standards put forth by the State of Minnesota.

Hiring the Right People
Before hiring, candidates are subject to a rigorous application and vetting process which is followed by an extensive background investigation, physical examination, and psychological examination. The officers that comprise the Woodbury Police Department are well educated; most have a bachelor’s degree, and many have a master’s degree. One of our sergeants earned his PhD and leads citywide efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion training.

Unique to Woodbury, our police, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) are combined into one Public Safety Department. Many of our employees serve dual roles such as police officer + paramedics or police officer + firefighter. This experience offers our staff a broader perspective.

Police Training
In Minnesota, police officers must complete a two-year degree and a skills program before they can take an eligibility exam. The state also requires continuing educational requirements in order for officers to be licensed. Our department goes well above and beyond these minimum requirements. New officers attend an academy within our department before they train in the field with an assigned mentor.

We train employees extensively in crisis intervention, mediation, de-escalation, and bias. For the past several years, we have prioritized diversity, equity, and inclusion learning. Course examples include:

  • Knowing Your Muslim Neighbor (2017) – Provided by The Building Blocks of Islam
  • PATROL-On Line training annually related to Implicit Bias
  • Understanding Implicit Bias in Policing Workshop (2016)
  • Cultural Diversity” Training (Fall 2018)
  • Procedural Justice Training (Summer/Winter 2018)

Use of Force
Use of force tactics are part of our ongoing curriculum. Beyond just the tactics, we train officers in de-escalation, legal case review, ethics, and professional conduct.

All instances of force are reviewed by supervisors. We are fortunate to have body worn cameras to aid as evidence, documentation, performance reviews, and training. We began using body worn cameras with a pilot program in 2017 and implemented fully in 2018. All uniformed sworn officers wear a camera during the course of their shift. Detectives will don one when going out on dynamic situations, such as warrants.

Learn about Woodbury's position on the #8CantWait Project

More information about race equity, transparency and accountability in Woodbury

  • Beginning in summer 2020, the Public Safety Department updates the Policing with Our Community report biannually. The report summarizes department engagement and community outreach activities.  
  • The Community Partnership Plan is a comprehensive description of the City’s efforts to foster a Welcoming and Inclusive Community, which was one of the City Council’s strategic priorities for several years.
  • Since the mid-1990s, the City of Woodbury has published an annual performance report that provides more than 250 pieces of data on the performance of city services and operations. 
Download a printable PDF with this information