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Posted on: August 30, 2023

CSO Program Helps City of Golden Valley Achieve Recruitment Goals For Sworn Police Officers

Like many of its counterparts across the country, the Golden Valley Police Department is working to build a robust and reliable recruitment strategy to attract dedicated officers ready to serve the community. Part of the process involves building upon existing efforts to hire and train future police officers.  

One example is the Community Service Officer (CSO) program, which for years has played a major role in the Golden Valley Police Department’s (GVPD) recruitment efforts. Besides providing the GVPD with departmental support in multiple areas, it created a growth and learning pathway for those interested in law enforcement careers. 

Led by Assistant Police Chief Rudy Perez, the GVPD has stepped up its focus on the CSO program, which Perez refers to as the “GVPD Community to Career Pipeline.” As a result, Abby Gerhardson, Andrew Evenson, Gabriel Page, and Cheeka Vang were recently sworn in as police officers after two to three years serving the community as CSOs. 

CSOs are uniformed, non-sworn positions that offer support to police on medical calls, parking and animal complaints, vehicle accidents and towing, office procedures like taking fingerprints, and more. CSO applicants need a high school diploma and a valid driver’s license. Becoming a licensed police officer requires a degree in law enforcement, graduation from the Police Academy, and completion of Minnesota’s a POST (Peace Officer Standards and Testing) exam. The City provides tuition reimbursement to CSOs who choose to get a law enforcement degree. And while the ultimate goal of many CSOs is to become a police officer, some may choose different career paths in law enforcement. 

“The CSO program provides the chance to experience the field and grow into the job as they complete coursework or other life preparations,” explains Golden Valley Police Chief Virgil Green. “It has served the community for many years, and the City has refreshed its focus to increase visibility and resources. There are many areas of policing than being a street officer, but people don’t often know that until they spend time in the department.” 

As the City works to enact equitable public safety standards, our recruitment efforts are more dynamically pursuing those who do not fit the typical mold, explains Scarlett Gonzalez, the City’s police recruiter. “The success we’ve seen with the CSO program has enabled us to turn our focus to recruiting officers with lateral and leadership experience.” 

The Golden Valley Police Department is recruiting officers through multiple channels and continues to look for the best candidates to serve its vibrant and ever-changing community. Learn more at

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