(Sophie Nieto-Muñoz | New Jersey Monitor)
State officials have tried all sorts of things to make New Jersey’s mostly white, mostly male police departments better reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, from creating minority mentorship programs to mandating police forces take action to fix underrepresentation.
Now, one state legislator wants to pay people to find the state more cops of color.
Sen. Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) introduced legislation last week to create a $1.25 million program that would pay $250 to anyone who recruits a minority law enforcement candidate who enters a police training academy.
The goal of the “Minorities in Police” program is to recruit 5,000 uniformed officers who are people of color, according to the bill. The program would be based in the state’s Department of Law and Public Safety.
New Jersey police are 74% white, compared to 54% of the general population, and at least 65 police departments don’t have a single officer of color, according to an analysis done last year by NJ.com.
Diversity in law enforcement can improve how officers treat people of color, according to a 2021 study by researchers from several schools, including Princeton University.
The researchers found Black and Hispanic officers, compared to white officers, made fewer stops and arrests and used force less often, especially against Black people. Female officers used less force than male officers, according to the study.
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