A new push to bring minorities to the public safety positions is beginning in St. Louis.
The city will spend $50,000 to have current officers travel as far as six hours away from St. Louis and recruit minority candidates.
Officers will identify potential minority recruits for the police department, but also for other public safety positions. They'll then put them through a 10 week workshop and give those candidates they think are ready an endorsement for the police academy.
The St. Louis Police Department is taking a new approach in gathering a more diverse applicant pool after Chief Sam Dotson reported that just 30% of police applicants are African American, a shocking number for a city that's population is nearly half African American.
"What we're looking for are qualified men and women and are looking for ways to make more African Americans qualified to be hired by the department," says Dotson. "I don't think we're talking about quotas, I think we're talking about people that are right for the job."
With support from the NAACP, the candidates will pinpoint which public safety position could be for them including corrections, firefighter and city marshal jobs. If candidates would like to pursue a career in the police department, if endorsed by the program, Chief Dotson says they'll have a leg up when entering the police academy.
"We actually get police officers that are getting paid to go out and recruit in their own communities in the St. Luis area and beyond," says Dotson. " So we're taking a more aggressive approach."
The $50,000 is coming from Proposition "S" funding and training for the positions will start right away.