Diversity in New Jersey is the name of the game for its State Police force.
In fact, the State Police recently graduated 118 new officers, who together represent the most diverse graduating class in NJ history. The graduating class includes 19 black troopers, who account for 16 percent of the class and 30 Hispanic troopers, who account for 25 of the graduating class. Also among the graduates are 6 Asians and 1 American Indian. Even with the recent success, New Jersey State Police is still struggling to attract and hire female troopers, which totaled just 5 in this past graduating class.
A Diverse Police Force Serving a Diverse Population
Governor Christie said the new group of state troopers “represents a major step forward” in maintaining a police force that “reflects the diverse population it serves.”
Governor Christie has made the creation of a diverse police force one of his priorities ever since the NAACP threatened to sue the State Police when it claimed that the state had not done enough to attract and recruit minorities. This threat came on the heels of just two minorities in a graduating class of 85 in 2012. And this was after the state settled discrimination claims in 2000 in an effort to force more minority recruitment.
Police Force Working to Recruit New Troopers to Replace Retirees
Other officials joining with Governor Christie to focus on diversity among the State Police include Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa and State Police Major Gerald Lewis. In addition to November’s class of 188, the State Police graduated 91 troopers in October, making the total number of new troopers at 209 this year.
The State Police continues to struggle with numbers due to a large number of retirements, which have totaled 220 so far this year. All new troopers must complete an 11-week probationary period, which includes close supervision by trooper coaches and supervisors throughout the state.