NYPD Doesn’t Have Enough Black Recruits Because So Many Have Been To Jail

By: Laura Meyers

New York police commissioner, Bill Bratton, said it is difficult to find would-be, black police officer recruits because so many have criminal records.

In an interview, Bratton said, ““We have a significant population gap among African-American males because so many of them have spent time in jail and, as such, we can’t hire them.”

In a response to nationwide protest and uproar against multiple police killings of black men, law enforcement departments are boosting efforts to recruit a more diverse lineup of officers.

According to Bratton, budget restrictions, strained relations between police and minority communities and a history of indiscriminate policing tactics that disproportionately target black and Latino men have hindered departments’ ability to find qualifying officer recruits.

Bratton blamed the “unfortunate consequences” on an increase in “stop, question and frisk” arrests that caught many young men of color in the net. As a result, Bratton said, the “population pool [of eligible non-white officers] is much smaller than it might ordinarily have been.”

Critics disagree with Bratton with what led to the smaller pool of potential recruits, and blames his implementation of “broken windows” policing- a strategy of enforcing low-level crimes to stop repeat offenders from committing more serious crimes in the future.

“Stop-and-frisk was not the heart of the problem,” said Robert Gangi, the director of the New York City-based Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP), which advocates for an end to Bratton’s broken windows policy. “Stop-and-frisk was the symptom of blatantly racist policing, known as broken windows.”

When Bratton served as the head of the NYPD in the early 90’s, he was one of the first commissioners of a major US city to adopt the broken windows policy.

The program has come under renewed scrutiny after Eric Garner died as a result of a violent arrest by NYPD officers on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes.

“We’re certain the disfavor and the antagonism in the black community toward the police is a principal factor in why so few black men want to become police officers,” Gangi said.

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