Fresh, diverse class for RPD
Updated: Tuesday, February 11 2014, 06:57 AM EST
Rochester, N.Y - They received a ‘thank you’ from the city’s mayor, then a thick stack of paperwork. Overall, it was a great first day for Rochester’s new police recruits.
“The greatest accomplishment of my life starts today,” said Justin Linton, a former Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy, who chose to join the Rochester Police Department.
Monday’s swearing-in featured 25 new recruits and is among the most diverse class the department has had, with 15 of the 25 being minorities and women.
“This is something we continue to strive for," said Michael Ciminelli, interim chief. "We want the department to reflect the community; we want the community to be comfortable with the police department as it is.”
The diverse class reflects a renewed focus to add women, minorities and bilingual speakers. The effort has been ongoing for years.
“We started off at colleges, we also went out to churches, both African American (and) Latino churches,” said Mayor Lovely Warren. “We went to different job fairs, just really put it out there that we want people to serve our department.”
The police department is under a federal consent decree that mandates it hire one minority for every three non-minority hires. The city is 43.7 percent white and 41.7 percent black, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.
Of the 744 sworn police officers, 567 of them were white, 83 were black and 77 were Hispanic, according to a September 2012 staffing profile sent from the city’s corporation counsel to Judge Michael Telesca.
Of the 28 recruits hired in July 2012, 16 were minorities, according to the profile.
The number of minority officers for 2014 was not immediately available, according to a police spokesperson.
“I think we are very, very happy that we are pushing for that diversity, not only African Americans and Latinos, but also in women,” Warren said. “The number of women in the class is exciting and it shows that we are doing more work to recruit from all sections of our community.”
“I’m excited to be part of that,” said Sharon Singh-Santos, a Brooklyn native and new RPD recruit.
Recruits will undergo six months of training and could be ready to begin their careers by November or December, said a recruitment leader.