South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Minority recruitment efforts by city for police force showing successes

 


The latest Pittsburgh Bureau of Police recruitment class is composed of nearly 30 per cent minorities, which continues successful recruitment efforts implemented by Mayor William Peduto’s Administration. 

Of 28 total recruits who entered the police academy last Monday, eight (or 29 per cent) are minorities. The class includes one Asian male; one Black female; five Black males; one Hispanic male; four White females; and 16 White males.

The Peduto Administration has made recruitment of qualified minority police recruits a priority, with the intention of building a Pittsburgh Police Bureau that more closely mirrors the makeup of the city as a whole. While there is still work to be done, the historical numbers back up the Administration’s successes: while the recruit classes in 2007 were only three per cent minority, in 2015-2016 the classes were 13 per cent minority. That is a 333 per cent increase over the past decade. 

Over the past two years the city’s Personnel Department has worked with police leadership on several new strategies to attract qualified minority applicants for police jobs. They include a a recruitment website, http://joinpghpolice.com/, creating a candidate/police officer mentor program, use of social media, emailed updates to applicants, hosting recruitment events and info sessions within city neighborhoods, offering child care and transportation options to recruitment or testing events, and partnering with various internal and external groups to increase recruitment outreach.

“We have worked very hard with the Personnel Department, particularly Acting Assistant Director of Employment & Training Paula Kellerman, to devise a hiring process that best identifies the characteristics of an ideal police officer,” said Solicitor Lourdes Sanchez-Ridge. “We have de-identified the process so that the selection of a candidate is based only on merit, therefore providing the city with the best qualified police officers that will serve and protect us.” 

The efforts coincide with the mayor’s pledge – which is will be complete in 2017 – to bring the overall strength of the Police Bureau to more than 900 officers, which is its greatest staffing level since 2002. As of this month there are 875 sworn officers and 58 recruits in training. 

The administration has invested in a new police training facility in the North Side, which allows for training more recruits as well as providing better training facilities for current officers. The facility opened this fall.

 

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