In an effort to attract diverse officers, law enforcement agencies from around the world are beginning to recruit applicants from colleges and universities (HBCUs) with a Black history.
Departments seek to address growing problem in law enforcement
According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, recruitment is a serious concern for various agencies across the country. In fact, it has been observed that departments are “having difficulty recruiting and hiring police officers.”
“The IACP recruitment survey shows that the difficulty in recruiting officers and law enforcement officers is not due to a specific cause. Instead, multiple social, political, and economic forces simultaneously play a role in shaping the current state of hiring and retention.”
In response to this “crisis,” programs have been established to help foster interest in law enforcement careers at HBCU.
Central State University in Ohio is one such institution, and Yarnell Rickett—an alumnus with the San Antonio Police Department—flyed in to speak to criminal justice and “recruitment” professionals. new police,” according to The Marshall Project.
HBCU’s ‘Gateway’: ‘Minority Officers Needed, and Now’s Time’
Regarding this method of recruitment, Rickett said, “Minority officers are needed, and now is the time.”
“There is a generation of officers who are leaving because they don’t like transparency, accountability… a lot of the ‘old’ thinking in the police industry is disappearing.”
Ericke Cage, president of West Virginia State University, has a similar view. He noted that “HBCUs can serve as a gateway” to better relationships between police officers and the Black community.
“I believe the HBCU can act as a gateway. We can help achieve that 21st century police model. It is something that embraces, and inspires trust and confidence in all aspects of the equation.”
For students in Central State’s criminal justice program, they are on a mission to “be part of the change.”
“People think all cops are bad, and I understand some of the reasons why… but I wanted to be part of the change,” said student Connor Saxon-Boclear.
Nya Norvelle, another criminal justice expert at the Central State, admits similar motives.
“You can’t do anything better unless you’re willing to be part of the solution. Police are not just about preventing crime—it’s about building bridges.”
Lincoln University in Missouri Establishes First HBCU Police Academy
Another example of the growing relationship between HBCUs and law enforcement is seen at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. The organization was formed from the first HBCU police academy, run by Lincoln University Sheriff, Gary Hill.
“Our academy is different from most academies. We teach the required Peace Officer Standards and Training, but we also talk about what we can do to make our neighborhoods better. You can find criminals anywhere, but can you solve the problems in your neighborhood? For me, that’s the real policy.
The FBI got involved through programs like Project Beacon
While talking about this, we must point out that the FBI has also stepped in.
Back in September, the FBI field office at Columbia established a mentoring program with five HBCUs in South Carolina: Benedict College, Allen University, Claflin University, South Carolina State University, and Morris College .
The field office of FBI Columbia is launching the first Mentoring Program at Benedict College and other HBCUs in the Midlands. More information about the program offers careers with @abc_columbia at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. pic.twitter.com/7gm4wjYgeN
– Lee Williams (@leewilliams93) September 15, 2022
The South Carolina initiative is linked to the FBI’s Project Beacon, which is set to launch in 2021 to “advance relationships between the FBI and underrepresented communities.”
As part of the project, the #FBI plans to increase recruitment at HBCUs and host more HBCU leaders at the Citizen Academy—week-long programs that give community leaders insight into the FBI. pic.twitter.com/jLuCpICjxx
– FBI (@FBI) September 8, 2021
What do you think about the fact that law enforcement agencies are trying to establish more relationships with HBCU?