Philly PD introduces first-ever diversity, equity, and inclusion chief

Leslie Marant is the Philadelphia Police Department's first-ever chief equity, diversity, and inclusion officer. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Leslie Marant is the Philadelphia Police Department's first-ever chief equity, diversity, and inclusion officer. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

The Philadelphia Police Department has its first-ever chief equity, diversity, and inclusion officer.

Leslie Marant is a former chief of staff for Universal education company as well as the former chief counsel to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

At HRC, she worked on enforcing state laws that prohibit discrimination in employment education housing, and public accommodations.

During an introductory news conference Tuesday afternoon, Marant said a more inclusive and equitable police department is key to increasing officer retention, especially as the department struggles with hundreds of vacancies.

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“It’s far more expensive to recruit and initiate new hires than it is to keep the hires that you have and to keep them satisfied,” she said. “A part of diversity and inclusion and equity work is far more than just representations and numbers and representative numbers of different populations of people, it’s about keeping your workforce happy.”

Marant says the first thing on her agenda is to gather all the data she needs from the department to figure out her next steps.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw was a major proponent of the move to hire Marant.

“I am honored and excited to have Ms. Leslie Marant join the Philadelphia Police Department as our first chief equity, diversity, and inclusion Officer,” she said. “Her experience in both the private and public sector will provide insight into best practices while strengthening the PPD’s mission of transparency, accountability, and equity within our organization.”

The PPD’s move comes less than a month after the city’s health department also hired its first chief racial equity officer. Gail Carter-Hamilton will focus on developing racial equity efforts within the health department in order to address racial health disparities throughout the city in the newly created role.

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