The Duluth Police Department receives over 110,000 calls for service each year. We have about 150 sworn officers split between four shifts. The picture we’re painting here is that our officers are busy.

About a year and a half ago, we realized that there were some calls that could be a great training opportunity for those pursuing a career in law enforcement. In response, our Community Service Officer program was born.

Community Service Officers (CSOs) sit in the lobby area of the Public Safety Building. They’re the ones who answer our non-emergency line and help with walk-in traffic. Each CSO is actively pursuing a law enforcement degree with the goal of Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification. This part-time position is a wonderful way to get an inside view of police work while pursuing a career in law enforcement.

CSOs also take on calls that would have fallen to our officers in the past. Other duties include evidence submission, department projects and records support work.

As a department, we look for every opportunity for efficiency. The CSO program is a way for us to recruit and train potential future officers while reducing the workload of our current officers’ already full plates.

"Question a cop" is a weekly column provided to the News Tribune by the Duluth Police Department and written by Ingrid Hornibrook, public information officer for the DPD. Have a question you'd like to ask? Send it to