State Patrol trooper Erick Sjodin
Erick Sjodin is among a new breed of Minnesota State Patrol troopers.
The married father of three spent years in other professions before he decided to apply skills he had learned to law enforcement.
Sjodin, a Wrenshall native and Duluth resident, had trained as an airplane pilot and mechanic, but his college education included a law enforcement degree from University of Wisconsin-Superior.
“I wanted to do something that makes a difference,” Sjodin said Friday after he and 71 other State Patrol cadets became troopers at a graduation ceremony near Minneapolis.
The class is the largest in the patrol’s history, and it includes 31 members who, like Sjodin, turned to law enforcement after working in other career fields. They applied to the State Patrol through a new program that targets people without prior law enforcement experience.
“We’re looking for people that have life experience to draw from,” said State Patrol Lt. Jean Cemensky, “and to diversity the agency.”