York police, Racial Justice Committee seek minority recruits

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York City Police are announcing new efforts to change the face of the police force. 11 police departments around York are working together to recruit minority police officers.

Several local chiefs held a news conference at the YWCA Wednesday afternoon. They will be working with the YWCA’s Racial Justice Committee to encourage minorities to apply. The YWCA says police reached out to them last September.

The Racial Justice Committee will also sit in on written tests for the applicants, to ensure there is no bias.

“We’re willing to work with any group, organizations that are focusing on becoming more culturally competent,” says Mark Rhodes, member of the Racial Justice Committee. “We want to see York become an area that’s not afraid to talk about race, racism and bias. You can’t settle something you’re afraid to talk about.”

The 11 York-area police department accept applications every two years and usually end up with a few hundred prospective recruits on the list. Applicants can later decide which department they want to go to.

The York City Chief says minority recruitment has been challenging in the past because of lack of interest and negative stereotypes about police. But he hopes the process with the YWCA will bring more applications.

“We want to look at how we’re going to look several years down the road, so that we know we are making improvements,” says Chief Wes Kahley of York City Police. “And if we’re not, we’re going to take an honest look and as Mark said, we’re going to have those honest conversations about why things are the way they are.”

The YWCA in York will be holding several tutoring sessions for prospective applicants.
The tutoring dates are Friday, Jan. 30 from 2-4 pm; Thursday, Feb. 5 from 3-5 pm; Friday, Feb. 6 from 12-2 pm; and Saturday, Feb. 7th from 9-11 am.

Applications are due by Friday, Feb. 13 at 5 pm. Entry level (written) testing for all applicants will be held on Feb. 20 and 21.

Applicants must be U.S. Citizens, age 21 by July 1, 2015, have a valid PA driver’s license, be physically and mentally fit and meet certain basic hearing and vision requirements.