PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Providence Police Department presented its most diverse police academy yet on Wednesday.
Sixty-three percent of the new class are people of color, including Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians.
Police aimed to recruit more people of color and women in order to diversify the department that is currently 75% white, and 25% minorities.
“70% of this academy will be minorities and women,” Mayor Jorge Elorza said. “That is a tremendous accomplishment.”
Col. Hugh Clements said that the Police Department recognized a need to change their current demographics.
“We’ve struggled, law enforcement in general in those specific demographics,” Col. Clements said. “We’ve used the community in every way possible…in midnight basketball, rec centers, hair salons,” he said of the efforts to recruit minorities and women.
Providence NAACP president Jim Vincent praised the efforts.
“I don’t think anybody’s going to dispute that a police department is better off when it reflects the diversity of the community,” Vincent said. “So let it be said that Providence is a model for diversity in terms of police recruitment.”
The new class will graduate from the police academy in August.