Recently, the Hamtramck chapter of the NAACP submitted a list of demands for the city to adopt regarding policies for the Police Department.
One of those demands is to hire and train police officers from the community. The group points out that there is a gross lack of diversity in the department. Out of about 50 officers and detectives, only two are African-American and one is Chaldean.
We agree, that make-up hardly reflects who lives in Hamtramck.
But is that the department’s fault?
If we want a more diverse police force, a police force that more accurately reflects who lives here, well, the community is going to have to step up.
Our Police Department can’t possibly afford to screen candidates and then pay for their training.
If you want to see more minorities in the department, then more minorities are going to have to invest in themselves and go through the police academy just like everyone else. Yes, that is an investment, costing about $5,000. Our department also requires candidates to have at least an Associate’s Degree in law enforcement.
We don’t think those are unreasonable requirements.
Police Chief Mark Kalinowski said that in the past when the department was ready to hire officers, there were never minorities on the list to pick from, or if there were minorities they ranked almost dead bottom on their class ranking.
We would imagine that those minority candidates who finish high up in their class would have the pick of any department. What do you think the chances are that little old Hamtramck would be high on their wish list of places to work?
We’re not trying to demean Hamtramck but think about it, if you are a minority there are a lot of departments out there who are very interested in hiring.
If Hamtramck wants to see more minorities in our department, our residents are going to have to come forward and make a commitment. Instead of criticizing, we challenge the NAACP to begin recruiting candidates and getting them trained.