On March 9, 2021, Dr. Matt Bostrom, president of the Center for Values-Based Initiatives, will give a presentation for faculty, staff, and students of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota on “Character, Policing, and Community Trust.”  The event will occur at the university center on the Twin Cities campus with a limited audience and also be livestreamed.

Bostrom began his law enforcement career in 1982.  He served with the Saint Paul Police Department as police officer, sergeant, lieutenant, commander, senior commander, chief of staff, and assistant chief of operations, and retired as Ramsey County Sheriff in 2017.  The hallmark of Bostrom’s service as sheriff was a focus on increasing the level of trust between the community and police officers.  

Through listening to the community, he learned of their desire for police departments to hire for character and train for competence.  In response, he launched a recruitment and hiring initiative that centered on selecting women and men who possessed observable character traits.  “In public service, people of good character are a must,” said Bostrom.  “In law enforcement, we can train many people for skills, but we cannot fundamentally change the character traits of those we hire.  Therefore, we work to hire those who possess the traits of respect, responsibility, honor, and truth.”

In addition to graduating from the FBI National Academy, Bostrom earned degrees from the University of Northwestern (B.S.), University of Saint Thomas (M.A.), Hamline University (Doctor of Public Administration), and the University of Oxford (Ph.D. in Criminology).  The Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford invited Bostrom to develop a replicable model for increasing police trust by identifying and aligning the community’s values with those of the police.  “It is through the operationalization of these shared values in police officer recruitment, selection, and training,” Bostrom explained, “that can lead to increased trust between police officers and the communities they serve.”

Saint Mary’s is excited to welcome Bostrom back to campus.  Bostrom has previously taught at Saint Mary’s as well as the University of Northwestern and Hamline University.  In addition to his public lectures, he co-authored Character-Based Police Officer Selection.

Registration for the event will be sent to the Saint Mary’s community.  For information about attending the event in-person, please contact cve@smumn.edu.


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