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US Police Hits Recruitment Snag While Young Cops Opt for Humane Policing

July 30, 2020, 01.13 PM

John Jay's 15,000 student body is about 80 percent people of color, but about two-thirds of the faculty is white.

"I will consider it a personal failure if I don't figure out how to change and give our students people who look like them," she said. "You often hear 'You can't be what you can't see.'"

Elias Oleaga, 19, joined the Boy Scout-founded Law Enforcement Exploring when he was 13 and met veteran cops with a strong commitment to serving his Dominican community in the Bronx.

Now a student at John Jay, Oleaga says the national debate about policing has not shaken his desire to become an officer. "Honestly, I'd be lying if I said it did. Passion doesn't go extinct."

But because of Floyd's death, he said he now plans to focus his police career on community relations rather than his original choice, investigations.

"I've seen what happens in the streets of the South Bronx. I'd like to be the support system that was given to me," he said.

Thomas "Tre" Boone, 19, knows firsthand about the problems facing Black police officers.

His father is one of a dozen officers suing the Prince George's County, Maryland department for racial discrimination.

Prince George's County denies the allegations in the 2018 lawsuit.

Boone says he is still planning to study criminal justice and become a cop. "It's time for people to step up and reform the police," he said. "I definitely feel that I'm part of that generation."

(Writers: Andrea Shalal, Angela Moore | Editors: Heather Timmons, Diane Craft, Alistair Bell) 


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