It has been hard finding minority men and women to join the Philadelphia police force, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told a City Council hearing, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Ramsey believes that is partly due to the instances of police violence widely reported around the nation. “In the current environment we’re in, policing is not all that positive. Not a day goes by you don’t see something negative,” Ramsey said. “That has an impact on young people.”
Ramse has proposed a 7 percent increase in his budget to $685 million. The boost is mostly due to scheduled wage increases and equipment needs, including some suggested by a recent U.S. Department of Justice report.The report found “significant strife” between police and the community, and inconsistent and ineffective training on use-of-force policies. It recommended that the police force should reflect the ethnicities of the people it serves. The force, which has 213 vacancies, is 57 percent white, 33 percent black, and 8 percent Hispanic. The city is 36.2 percent white, 41.8 percent black, 13.3 percent Hispanic, and 6.7 percent Asian. Despite recruitment efforts at historically black colleges and some changes to requirements, newly hired African Americans make up an even smaller percentage. Applicants no longer need a driver’s license and the minimum age was lowered from 21 to 20.