NYPD announces increase in Black applicants after eliminating fees

“This was one of the priorities from day one,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea

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The New York Police Department is seeing a surge in Black and applicants of color.

According to officials, the department saw a surge in minority applicants ready to take the entrance exam compared to past years. At a press conference on Tuesday, the police commissioner said the surge is “incredibly important” and that the NYPD actively recruited diverse applicants, per The Wall Street Journal.

“This was one of the priorities from day one,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.

Officials say 14,502 people signed up to take next month’s entrance exam, 7,553 were minorities. Taking the exam is the first step toward the police academy and becoming an NYPD cadet.

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Read More: 3 NYPD officers charged with corruption; 1 regularly used Black slurs

The slogan for this year’s police recruitment was “Be the Change.” To encourage folks to take the entrance exam the department visited neighborhoods, utilized social media and waived the $40 exam fee. The department also extended the sign-up period.

About 29.2% of this year’s applicants were Black compared to 17.8% over the past five years.

During a time when anti-police sentiments are swirling due to nationwide police brutality, other cities are having trouble securing and retaining officers.

“It’s not a big surprise,” said adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and former NYPD sergeant Joseph Giacalone.

“With all the anti-cop rhetoric and all of the legislation that goes against the cops, just about everywhere it seems as if the good guys are the bad guys, and the bad guys are the good guys.”

According to police union officials, 2,767 officers applied for retirement last year amid the pandemic and violent crime increase in New York City. But between 2014 through 2019, less than 1,800 officers had done so in each previous year.

In New York City, an officer starts off making $42,500, and after five years, can earn $85,292. Experts say low wages play a factor in attracting diverse talent.

“If our city would just support its police officers and pay us a salary on par with other local cops, they wouldn’t need to extend filing deadlines and waive test fees,” said President Patrick Lynch of Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York.

The NYPD is made up of 36,000 officers. About 54% of active officers identify as Black, Hispanic or Asian.

Proud police officers enjoy NYPD Black History Month program on Feb. 15, 2017 at Police Plaza. (Ken Murray)

Read More: NYPD experiences 75 percent increase in departures and retirements

Back in April, theGrio reported the NYPD saw an increase in departures and retirements.

 As anti-police sentiments continue to intensify across the country after a string of high-profile police brutality cases, officers are now leaving the New York Police Department in record numbers.

According to department data, more than 5,300 NYPD officers have retired or submitted paperwork to leave the force in 2020, a 75 percent increase from the previous year, per the New York Post. Approximately 2,600 officers departed, while another 2,746 filed for retirement. In 2019, a total of 3,053 left the force.

From the beginning of this year through April 21, 831 officers have already retired or filed for permanent leave, and many more are expected to follow suit.

Additional reporting by theGrio’s Ashley Terrell

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