Area Voices: Bemidji Police Chief Mike Mastin
I really enjoy helping people. That's the bottom line. And I think that's really the mentality of a lot of people that do this job. We just want to help… we really want to help people find justice or find or find some comfort in something bad that's happening… unfortunately, a lot of our job deals with tragedy and we don't see people in the best of light or in the best of circumstances for them....that's really at the essence of why I became an officer. And I think the majority of those that work for us, that's why. They just want to help. - Bemidji Police Chief Mike Mastin
Bemidji Police Chief Mike Mastin spoke with Area Voices producer Katie Carter about what goes into becoming a police officer. After the death of George Floyd last summer, Katie reached out to Mastin curious about the training, requirements, and challenges of being a police officer.
…if you just had a two year degree back in the early 2000s, late ‘90s, that wasn't enough. You had to actually go get a four year degree in criminal justice to become viable in the hiring process…
we’re looking for people with that a four year degree, a little more rounded person, a little more educated, a little more life experience, and that is a benefit…the trend we're seeing now is the numbers for applicants are going down and we're starting to see a lot more reversion, if you will, back to just a two year degree, which is unfortunately a detriment to Minnesota…The unfortunate part is when you had one hundred+ applicants, you could really weed out those that shouldn't do the job... They're bullies. They’re whatever-they have a past that isn't favorable to this. When you only have 14 applicants, it's much more difficult to weed people out. - Bemidji Police Chief Mike Mastin
Chief Mastin also discussed the confusion surrounding the evening of the Justice for For George Floyd rally in Bemidji.
...you have to consider all information that you get...there are arguably people who look for an opportunity to be instigators during those demonstrations, and their only goal is to cause chaos. Those are the people we need to plan for...it's unfortunate that that small portion of people, that small segment, takes away from the message that the demonstrators are trying to get out.
For the the full interview, click the arrow!