Push for Black applicants to take police test pays off, NYPD says

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More than 14,000 New Yorkers have signed up to take the police exam, with nearly a third of them Black applicants, the NYPD said Tuesday, crediting a push to bolster the number of minorities on the nation’s largest police force.

A recruitment campaign ended May 4 after it was extended an extra week. And the NYPD has admitted it’s been difficult persuading Blacks, particularly men, to become police officers in recent years.

But NYPD Chief of Personnel Martin Morales said the campaign — its motto was “Be the Change” — succeeded in getting more minorities than usual to sign up to take the test. Of the 14,502 would-be cops, more than 4,200, or 29%, are Black, he said. In the previous four exams, only 11% applicants were Black.

The $40 filing fee was waived for those interested as well, police said, a move that likely helped the rise.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said the focus on attracting more minority applicants is just the first step, and that department recruiters would offer tutoring services and follow-up so as many people as possible sit down for the exam.

The Police Benevolent Association lauded the effort, but noted in a statement: “New York City’s best and brightest also know they could have more money and less stress doing another job – even another policing job.”

“If our city would just support its police officers and pay us a salary on par with other local cops, they wouldn’t need to extend filing deadlines and waive test fees,” the union stated.

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