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Cop Canoes: An Innovative Way for Recruiting People Goes Real in Northern Minnesota

Ely Police Car/ We're Hiring (Photo: Google)

Canoes are given to new police officers in Ely, Minnesota in exchange for three years of service.

Ely Police Car (Photo: Facebook)

Innovative Police Officer Recruitment: Ely, Minnesota Offers Free Canoes

To attract police officers, Ely, Minnesota, is providing free $3,800 Kevlar canoes to new and existing cops for a three-year commitment. Ely, noted for its Boundary Waters Canoe Area access, thinks the incentive will attract cops as many municipalities struggle to hire and maintain them. Since establishing the canoe incentive, Police Chief Chad Houde has received two inquiries.

Ely Police Chief Chad Houde has received two inquiries and expects more interest in the unique offer of free boats to attract officers. The government seeks to highlight Ely’s outdoor activities to overcome employment challenges. After a long shift, Assistant Chief Mike Lorenz recommends canoeing, hunting, and fishing.

The 2020 pandemic and law enforcement criticism make it hard for police departments to recruit and retain cops. Minneapolis wants $15,000 in recruitment incentives to refill its police force.

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Ely Police Chief Discusses Minnesota Law Enforcement Shortage Recruitment Issues

Chief Chad Houde highlights a shortage of Ely Police Department applicants due to a reduction in Minnesota law enforcement graduates and certified peace officers. With just one candidate for the last position, the city has recruitment challenges, mirroring half of Minnesota’s law enforcement agencies hiring. Ely, population 3,200, approved a $30,000 proposal from its $140,000 public safety support bill.

Canoes from local outfitters will be given away with the money. Ely pays $65,000 for starting cops, but it retains fewer than neighboring municipalities. Receivers must keep canoes for three years or pay a portion of their value. Ely’s outdoor lifestyle attracts Chief Houde, a 19-year resident.

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