My Brother’s Keeper and the Task Force on 21st Century Policing should team up to market law enforcement jobs to Black men.
In 2014, while covering the story of a South Philadelphia community organizing to rid their streets of toy guns, I uncovered what most taxpayers assumed existed, but hoped in the contrary: a government of neighborhoods.
In this context, the aforementioned refers to the existence of multiple government agencies whose missions, problems, competences and constituent services overlap in dramatic ways, yet don’t communicate for reasons ranging from pride to incompetence.
The loser in this game of charades, of course, is not the politician or their appointee, but the taxpayer, who though cynical, does expect and desire an efficient, effective, responsive, multi-faceted and transparent government.
As we begin 2015 and, ultimately, with the blossoming of youth activists across the U.S., end an era of legacy leadership, it would behoove government bodies to not only engage – in a non-hierarchy way – emerging leaders to solve tough problems, but do so in a way which promotes mutli-disciplinary collaboration and innovation.
This recommendation – in an effort to mitigate the struggle police departments have in hiring and retaining minority officers – could be put into practice on a national stage sooner than later by pairing the works of President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper and Task Force on 21st Century Policing initiatives.
More specifically, I suggest a full-scale, integrated effort in which private dollars from the partnering foundations can be allocated into scholarship funds for black men and boys who wish to pursue a career in law enforcement, while enacting multi-media recruitment campaigns, career fairs and trust-building activities in communities of color.
This bold idea is aligned with President Obama’s sentiments, which he expressed at a recent press conference when he said:
“The task force that I formed is supposed to report back to me in 90 days — not with a bunch of abstract musings about race relations, but some really concrete, practical things that police departments and law enforcement agencies can begin implementing right now to rebuild trust between communities of color and the police.”
The other value of this idea is that the infrastructure needed to execute it would require more sweat-equity than financial capital, though the latter would be necessary and mostly used for paid media, administrative cost, signage, stipends and transportation.
Police departments can leverage their PAL programming – which traditionally is used to strengthen community and police relations through sports, mentoring and academic support for school-aged youth – to promote careers in local enforcement at an early age, even developing early-education curriculums that school districts can adopt, endorse and/or distribute.
In this moment, I would lend this quote: To have things you’ve never had, you have to do things you’ve never done.
Considering that its been nearly a decade since the Philadelphia Police Department – which is led by Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who co-chairs the Task Force on 21st Century Policing – executed a citywide recruitment campaign for Black men, and whereas, a 2007 federal survey found that nearly 400 departments, most with fewer than a hundred officers, were substantially whiter than the populations they served, the time for leveraging new ideas, embracing new approaches and establishing new partnerships that add value to the citizenry is now.
Since American police departments seem to engage black men more than others segment of the population, shouldn’t a few of these encounters result in a career, instead of a candlelight vigil or protest?
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™