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.
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.