By Dr. John E. Warren
This week after many years of not doing so, the City of San Diego has embarked on an Ad Campaign with the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint newspaper to recruit Police Officers or candidates for the Police Academy who upon graduation, will become San Diego Police Officers. We make the distinction between candidates and officers because some individuals who are already Police Officers in other jurisdictions might respond to this campaign. We are highlighting this issue because of the decline in the number of African American Police Officers in particular due to retirements and departures from the Department.
In the past two decades, we have had African Americans in the San Diego Police Department rise to the ranks of Lt. Captains, and Assistant Chiefs. But those gains are disappearing as departing officers are not being or have not been replaced with new arrivals from our communities. It is important that we encourage our young African and African American men and women to consider careers in not only the San Diego Police Department, but also in the County Sheriff’s Department where the same problems exist. With such issues as racial profiling still among us, we cannot afford to go back to any law enforcement agencies that are not inclusive of “us”.
We believe that there are any number of young people of color who do not have police records or criminal history of any kind that would keep them off these law enforcement bodies; we also have asked that the screening processes be closely monitored so that people who apply are not screened out for such things as a low credit score when unemployment and the economy has touched most of us in some way. We invite those who apply to let us know of your efforts and your progress as we desire to monitor these hiring campaigns with an eye toward our future.