When 1,600 recruits become New York City police officers next week, they will make up the first graduating class in the city’s history Department that is majority minority; the class is 45.2 percent non-Hispanic white, reports the New York Times. Many white recruits are themselves immigrants. A very high percentage of new recruits live in the city, in contrast to many older officers, who live in the suburbs.
New York City’s population has been less than 50 percent non-Hispanic white since sometime before the 1990 census. Critics note that while the new class may be mostly minority, whites still occupy a disproportionately high percentage of the highest-paying jobs. Still, “There is less tension in the streets among the police and the people that we police than we have seen in my career,” said police commissioner Raymond Kelly. The 37,000-member force is 53.2 percent white, a level that decreases each year with retirements. The rest of the department is 17.4 percent black, 25.5 percent Hispanic and about 3.8 percent Asian. “When I came on in 1970, there were only 300 Hispanics on the job,” said Rafael Pineiro, the chief of personnel and one of the highest-ranking Hispanics in the department’s history. Today there are about 8,000 Hispanics.