Golden Valley turns to contractors to fill policing gaps

Hennepin County deputies and a private security firm are working alongside remaining officers


Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune file

Virgil Green applauded the members of the Golden Valley Police and Fire Departments as they gathered with him for a photo after he was sworn in as the new police chief of Golden Valley in September.

As the Golden Valley Police Department tries to fill vacancies in its ranks, Hennepin County Sheriff's deputies have accounted for a growing proportion of officers' shifts - so far costing the city more than $60,000.

Like many police departments, the city has seen high turnover since 2020, but its hiring difficulty has stood out in the Twin Cities metro. In February, Golden Valley officials said just eight sworn officers were responding to emergency calls and eight unarmed "community service officers" were handling less-urgent matters, such as parking complaints and theft reports. The department is budgeted for 31 officers..

The police union that represents Golden Valley officers, Law Enforcement Labor Services, has declared the city's police ranks "dangerously low." Union leaders have blamed the staffing shortage on reform efforts that they say are going too far.


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