The purpose of this research was to examine and evaluate the 2009 police recruit academy at the
Duluth Police Department (DPD) in Duluth, MN, from the perspectives of those involved and
gauge which components of the academy were 1) sufficient; 2) unnecessary; or 3) in need of
further explanation (or needed to be added); and 4) how the community policing ethos of DPD, in
connection with adult learning practices, aided training. This research was conducted because
this was the first formal academy at DPD and all eleven recruits had successfully completed
training that year.
Fifty-two officers at DPD were contacted about participating in interviews; forty-three officers
responded, with an additional three who volunteered. During interviews, officers were asked
questions about their opinion on aspects of the academy, based on their category (recruit,
lieutenant/sergeant, field training officer, or coordinator/instructor). Further, statistics were
compiled on all officers hired from 1999-2009 by sending out sixty-seven emails (sixty-one
officers responded) and going through the employee files of thirty-one additional previous
employees in reference to each officer’s schooling and prior experience.
The primary results of the interviews revealed five themes, including the perceived success of the
academy, the hands-on approach used, the reasons surrounding the creation of the academy,
the “good candidate versus good training” debate, and the department and community benefit of
this program. A statistical analysis of the compiled data indicated a moderately strong significant
relationship between retaining the recruits and 1) prior experience, and separately, 2) schooling.
An analysis was also done on a combined variable of experience and/or schooling, versus neither
variable; no significant relationship was found between the variables in this case. A section was
also included on the author’s firsthand experience going through the second academy (in 2010)
at DPD and a discussion comparing the 2009 and 2010 academies.
The principal conclusions included that the success of the recruits through training had to do with
both the quality of the candidates as well as the provided training, and that a higher level of
training, even if it does not prevent all candidates from being washed out, is a great tool to any