Regarding the Dec. 6 news article “Triangle police departments struggle to bring diversity in ranks”: The article brought up very valid concerns many law enforcement agencies struggle with, but sadly the police chiefs cited, I believe, are missing a key ingredient, and that is recruiting at earlier ages and environments.
Relying on community colleges is fine, but if change is wanted in community policing, it must start in middle and high schools, particularly the latter.
Military recruiters and athletic recruiters are in the high schools so refocus the School Resource Officers into being a first line of recruiting. That would entail a paradigm shift selecting the most fit, energetic, professional and hopefully racially diverse officers. Select young officers who can reasonably relate to the student, show active interest in their school and extracurricular activities, all in a very positive light and not jeopardizing the students’ reputation among classmates.
Students should look up to these officers and think, “Hey, I wanna be like that officer some day.”
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Diversity recruitment can be improved by two programs: bringing in a recruiting officer from the police department to pitch students and an educational, helpful junior officer program where students spend time in the various aspects of law enforcement at the department.