Speak Out: What should be done to get more Black police officers in Pittsburgh?

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The Courier recently found that the number of new Black police recruits is declining. We asked Pittsburgher what they felt could reverse this trend. Here’s what you said:

“Start early with young people, say in middle school, making them more aware of the importance of careers in that area and preparing themselves earlier on; learning about them and finding people who could mentor them so that they can ultimately become one of the positive people on the police force.”
Shirley Biggs
Highland Park
Emeritus Faculty, Pitt

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Shirley Biggs, Roger Green, Michelle Biggs

“I think training is one aspect of it, living is another. I think there’s a generation of young brothers now, I’m talking about 15 to 20 years old who know and are aware enough to know that they can move into positions of being officers, and they could do the job more effectively than even some of the older officers on the force. ”
Roger Green
Homewood
Musician

“I think they should partner with the Pittsburgh Public Schools to create a public safety program, when children graduate from that program they would have first preference to be Pittsburgh police officers and firefighters and paramedics.”
Randall Taylor
Point Breeze
Community organizer

“The police need to have a better relationship with the minority community anyway first, after that you can build from there; to build bridges to get people interested in serving. Without a good relationship from the beginning, no one will want to protect and serve.”
Michelle Biggs
Highland Park
Entrepreneur

“Go out to the community tell them what the qualifications are, maybe some people don’t even know that they do qualify. They can go through the training, go through the test, the education. I think one of the big things is that they don’t know what they need to attract them.”
Beatrice Mitchell
Monroeville
Human resources

“Make it beneficial to the minority, find things that will give them a positive outlook as far as being a police officer. Most of our kids today say ‘I hate cops, I hate cops, cops are bad.’ What they need to understand is they’re here to protect us.”
Patrick Williams
Homewood
Security officer

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