ALL POINTS BULLETIN—Point Park students Alexandra Martinez-O’Reilly, Mauricia Turner and prospective Indiana University student Dorian Frison listen to a presentation by Allegheny County Deputy Sheriff S. Jason Tarap during the March 27 Point Park University job fair.
With each nearly all-White class of academy graduates, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police’ lack of racial diversity has become an increasingly divisive issue. Indeed, it has even made its way into the debates among the candidates running for mayor.
But rather than just debate the issue, Point Park University decided to team up with the Pennsylvania State Police for a career fair, and got an exceptional response.
“We actually had students waiting to get in before we got here,” said Career Counselor Amy Pointer. “So yes the response has been excellent.”
David King, assistant to the chair of the university’s Criminal Justice and Intelligence Studies department was impressed.
“We had over 250 in the first two hours,” he said. “We had one guy from out of the country, mostly students, but not all. One of the key draws is that the state police are hiring now.”
Trooper Ed Joyner, as 20-year veteran, said he was impressed with the turnout.
“I saw a lot of good candidates coming through, very enthusiastic,” he said. “We had a good number of African-Americans, and we had a lot of females. We usually don’t get that many. So it’s a good day.”
Joyner said the state budget afforded them a chance to have a recruiting class of up to 80 applicants depending on the response.
“People ask if they need a military background, and they don’t,” he said. “It’s a plus, but anyone can do this job with the right mindset.”
He also noted that there are more departments within the state police than most people realize, including criminal investigations, forensic services, collision analysis and reconstruction, fire marshal, polygrapher, motorcycle and canine unit.
The unit that seemed to get the most attention, however, was the Special Emergency Response Team. That was because Trooper Jeff Worth, who was manning the desk brought something most people never get to see, his .50-caliber Barrett sniper rifle.
Most people in the state police never see one either, he explained to prospective recruits because you have to be on the force for three years before you can even apply to the SERT team.
Keilyan Burkes, a junior majoring in Intelligence studies, said though his career thoughts had been geared toward federal agencies like the CIA, NSA or FBI, he was intrigued by what he saw.
“I didn’t know about all these different divisions, so I’ve been talking to the troopers to see what I could do to advance because some of these are a good fit with my programs,” he said. “I’m not averse to joining at all. I’m glad I came.”
Tavis Davis came all the way from Seton Hill University in Greensburg after meeting a recruiter there and filling out an application.
“I did a little research and learned they have among the best bonus, pay and training in the country,” he said. “I’ll be coming back here May 2 for the written exam.”
Also in attendance were personnel representing the State Police Liquor Control Enforcement and the state Civil Service Commission as well as Allegheny County Police and county Housing Authority, and the Pittsburgh Bomb Squad.
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