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New program to increase diversity in Albany Police Department

Jacquie Slater & WNYT Staff
Created: July 07, 2020 07:17 PM

Albany Police are launching a new program to recruit officers from their own city streets.

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The paid Police Cadet Program aims to increase diversity in the department.

In Albany, 30 percent of the population is black, but only 13 percent of the officers patrolling the streets are African-American.

Chief Hawkins says this program hopes to bridge that gap. He's hoping to get more men and women of color to join their ranks.

Hawkins says recruiting and keeping officers of color is difficult in the best of times. Throw in recent high profile cases like the death of

George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, convincing young black men and women to choose a career in law enforcement is going to get even harder.

The cadet program aims to increase trust by putting officers on the very streets they grew up on.

Applicants must be between 18 and 32 years old, live in the city and pass a background check.

Cadets will assist with non-emergency related duties while preparing for a civil service exam. They will also participate in classroom lectures and physical training activities.

The hope is to have a first group of four cadets start early in the fall.

If all goes well, in about two years' time, the cadets will be able to join the academy.

Learn more about how a similar program helped Albany's police chief get to where he is today by watching the video of Jacquie Slater's story.


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