Philly Police Facing Recruitment Problems, Especially of African American Officers

Philadelphia’s Police Department has been on a year-long recruitment drive – you may have seen the billboards around the city (there is one by 30th Street Station).  Employment in the force comes with a not too shabby starting salary of $43,748 per year, along with excellent medical insurance including a prescription plan and dental/optical coverage, and a life insurance plan. Yet according to PPD Commissioner Charles Ramsey, the Department has found a need to re-evaluate their minimum qualifications (such as lowering the minimum age for an officer from 21 to 19) in response to disappointing recruitment numbers.

And according to a CBS Philadelphia report Sunday by Mike Dunn, African Americans have become particularly underrepresented.


A Philadelphia Police recruitment flier

FromPhiladelphia Police Commissioner Says Recruiting New Officers Remains A Challenge”, via CBS Philly:

At a hearing on the Police Department budget, Commissioner Ramsey said recruiting new officers remains a bigger challenge than ever, in fact just getting them to show up is a challenge. “We have a large percentage of people, 50-percent, sometimes more, that don’t show for orientation, even though they’ve been invited. You can’t get into the process if you don’t show for the orientation.”

Ramsey said this recruiting difficulty is particularly true of African American males, whose representation on the force has dropped from 16-percent to about 9-percent.

About Kenneth Lipp

Kenneth is a writer and researcher. He’s from Alabama, and will not apologize for it. He moved to Pennsylvania in 2012, but has been in love with Philadelphia since a late-night stroll down Ben Franklin Parkway to the Art Museum in July of 2011 with the love of his life. He is interested in telling Philadelphia’s dynamic and absolutely unique stories with the zeal of a constantly enamored newcomer. Kenneth is also passionate about government transparency and protection of whistleblowers, most notably PFC Chelsea Manning. His research and reporting on law enforcement and surveillance have been featured in various publications, including Rolling Stone (Meet the Private Companies Helping Cops Spy on Protesters) and Popular Science (Boston Tested Crowd-Watching Software That Catalogues People's Skin Color). His training is in both genetics and history and he likes the joke about being a helicase and unzipping your “genes.” He’s driven to know, and thinks you can handle, the truth. Follow him on Twitter @kennethlipp.

There are 4 comments

  1. Rick car

    I have applied twice in the past for Philadelphia police recruit. My experience is GED and 5 years as a Philadelphia corrections officer. But apparently working on a daily basis (all by myself) on a unit with 64 + inmates (many violent some convicted of murder and rape) is not enough to meet the requirements.


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