The Philadelphia Police Department is developing new tactics in an effort to recruit new members, particularly minorities, to join the force.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says he would like to set up a program to prepare high school students to enter the police academy. His idea is to start with kids who graduate from the police Explorer program, an off-shoot of the Boy Scouts that exposes kids to a law-enforcement career.
“It would be similar to a program I came through when I was a youngster in Chicago, a cadet program where we actually were paid minimum wage or close to it,” he said. “One of the advantages was it had tuition reimbursement, so if you went to community college or wherever you wanted to go, that’s where you really have an advantage.”
Councilman Curtis Jones would like to set up an official school-based curriculum.
“If there was a regional West Philadelphia location, a South Philadelphia location and others, where they could access that — working with the school district, working with educators in those high schools to create a law enforcement curriculum, I think that would give us greater yield over the Explorer participation,” Jones said.
Ramsey said the new approach could help his force reach the minority recruitment targets that have been elusive of late.