EDISON - New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill that would require police departments to recruit more minority officers.
Under the proposed law, police departments would have to follow guidelines that would be set up by the attorney general for recruiting for their departments. The departments would also have to set goals and timelines to meet diversity requirements.
The Edison Police Department has seen the number of minority officers grow over the last several years. Edison Police Chief Thomas Bryan says that he has made it a priority to recruit officers with help from the NAACP and Asian Officers Association.
Edison has an Asian population of more than 40 percent. Some of the Edison police officers speak Hindi and Tagalog. Officer Donald Ship says that he has noticed a difference when he is out on patrol.
“[Certain residents] feel more comfortable speaking to me in private or telling me about situations that are rising in the community,” he says.
Many police departments say that they are already fulfilling the recruitment requirement, but note that progress isn’t coming fast enough.
The bill will be taken up by the state Assembly’s Law and Public Safety Committee Thursday.