The New York City Police Department is eager to hear from African-Americans as it looks to put special emphasis on recruiting black men. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report, the final one in a series on the lack of black men in the NYPD.
The New York City Police Department is gearing up to recruit new officers.
It launched a website to attract candidates, but it wants to put special emphasis on recruiting black men. And the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement says it's ready to help young African-Americans apply.
"People who can guide them through the process, working with the department, making sure that they're meeting the deadlines they're getting the clear information of what is required of them," said Timothy Pearson of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.
The NYPD admits there is a need. Only 12 percent of the men on the police force are black. In the current police academy class, it's down to 7 percent black men.
Benjamin Tucker, the department's first deputy commissioner, said one possible way to boost the numbers is to return to a former policy that gave school safety officers credit towards becoming a police officer.
"They're a part of the police department already. They're a part of the police culture. They understand. They've been working in our schools," Tucker said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is also proposing to pump $10 million into the cadet program, which offers New York City college students paid opportunities in the department. There were 628 cadet positions in 2009. It's down to 117 now.
Retired NYPD captain and current Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said becoming a police officer is a path to financial stability.
"To become a police officer is a game-changer," he said. "The real estate I purchased was due to being a police officer. Obtaining my associates, my bachelors and masters degree, going at night, being able to pay without taking a student loan was because I was a police officer."
Retired Deputy Commissioner Wilbur Chapman said the NYPD must push for top-notch candidates of all backgrounds to improve community relations.
"The reality is, what is the department doing to attract those black males who will be successful?" Chapman said. "So it's not just getting someone of color because that's tokenism. It is getting someone of color who is going to make a contribution to the department."
And to the people they serve across the city.