APD recruiting forum hopes to draw from black community

The Albuquerque Police Department will be conducting a recruitment forum for young African American women and men in an attempt to increase the presence of black officers in the department.

The free forum will be held April 14, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., at the African-American Performing Arts Center, 310 San Pedro NE, on the grounds of Expo New Mexico.

Harold Bailey, president of the Albuquerque branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said it’s important that APD has a diverse workforce “so when there are community policing initiatives, all communities, including the black community, are better represented and the officers are more effective.”

Part of the push includes getting more young African Americans involved in the Police Service Aide program, Bailey said. Young people age 18 and who have graduated high school or have a GED can apply.

“If we catch them early enough, we can get them thinking that a career as a police officer is a positive thing, and it would allow them to be part of the process and agents for positive change,” Bailey said.

There are 914 sworn officers on the Albuquerque Police Department, of whom 17 – or 1.9 percent of all sworn officers – identify as African American, said Deputy Chief of Staff Elizabeth Armijo, who will be one of the speakers at the forum. There are currently no African American women among those officers, she said, but the department “is working to increase our overall diversity of qualified applicants.”

The forum is cosponsored by the NAACP, the National Council of Negro Women, the University of New Mexico’s African-American Student Services, the New Mexico Office of African American Affairs, the city of Albuquerque and APD.

To register for the forum, call 908-0796, or go online to http://tinyurl.com/yxul97pl.

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