Paterson launches aggressive police recruitment campaign to get more officers
The city of Paterson is looking to diversify its police force. The department is looking for a few good recruits to join its ranks and to help better represent the community they serve and protect.
“Who better than individuals that know their neighborhood and care about their community?” asks Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh.
The mayor says that Paterson’s general population is about 26% African American, but that demographic represents just 12% of the police force. Fifty percent of the officers are Latino, while the city’s population is about 60% Latino. Sayegh says that there are few, if any, officers representing the city’s growing Bengali and Palestinian populations.
The mayor and Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale say that this needs to change.
“If you think about the environment, there is distrust and we are trying to encourage people to trust us,” Sayegh says.
The city on Thursday launched an aggressive recruitment campaign. It will include banners and billboards, job fairs and visits to local high schools and colleges. There will also be a recruitment van that will go into Paterson neighborhoods to encourage, incentivize and assist people in the application process.
“We are going to provide those study services and get our Paterson residents on top of that list to make sure they are properly prepared to protect Paterson,” says Speziale.
The application process is open through the end of February. Those who make the cut could be trained by the summer and could be out protecting the streets shortly after.
The Paterson Police Department currently has just over 400 members. Sayegh says he is aiming for 439 officers on the street.
The recruitment campaign is funded by the Department of Community Affairs Anti-Violence Grant. More information about how to apply can be found HERE.