FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) – Across the United States, whether it’s cities and towns or rural areas, finding people who want to be police officers is tough. It’s forcing police chiefs to get creative. In Dilworth, Minnesota, Chief Ty Sharpe doesn’t take credit for the idea of Community Service Officers, but he his using the position to help find potential recruits.
Daniel Moonen just finished his first week on the job as Dilworth’s new CSO. The day we caught up with him, he was handing out freezing pops, water and police badge stickers to kids at a community event at Whistle Stop Park. Moonen’s job is part time, maybe 15 hours a week. His responsibilities include building a bond between the local law enforcement and the public. Moonen says “I still respond to medical calls…I can respond to almost any other call as long as I’m not the first one on the scene. In case, there is an immediate danger.” For Daniel, this is a return to policing. An earlier stint with the Dilworth law enforcement didn’t work our, but he wasn’t ready to give up on the department and Dilworth’s police chief wasn’t ready to give up on Daniel. Chief Ty Sharpe says “We knew Dan had something in him and I want to make sure we develop that.” Even though he is a licensed officer, as CSO, Moonen will only handle non emergency calls. Sharpe is hoping that if a position with the department opens, he’ll consider applying.
Sharpe knows how tough it is to find people, who want to be in law enforcement. He says, “If you want to be a police officer in Minnesota, you have to do two and a half years of schooling. This program, you don’t need anything, just a high school diploma and a want to be a police officer or a role in law enforcement somewhere.” Chief Sharpe is hoping that this position might become a chance for someone who’s interested in policing to dip their toe in the water, without diving into the police pool before they are ready.
At this stage, Daniel Moonen is happy where he is. You can’t miss him cruising around a classic Ford Crown Victoria. Remember, when he’s out on patrol, he’s armed with stickers and ice cream coupons if he see kids doing what they should….obeying the law.
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