Henrico Police looking for women and minority recruits

Published: Jan. 27, 2018 at 3:16 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2018 at 2:42 PM EST
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Henrico Police is looking to recruit more people who reflect the community they serve. (Source:...
Henrico Police is looking to recruit more people who reflect the community they serve. (Source: Henrico Police)

HENRICO/HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - The Henrico Police Department is looking for women and minority recruits to make sure its department reflects the community officers serve.

A sergeant from the department met with the NAACP on Friday, then interacted with students at Virginia Union to show students they too can help keep our streets safe. The officer also met with students at Virginia State earlier this week.

The department says it's time to talk about a topic that is often taboo - race. They have to go there, because it can help them do a better job protecting you.

"Do you ever feel like you're being targeted?" NBC12 asked people around the county.

"No," said Melvin White.

"Yeah, because I have been," Sean Spragley said.

The answer you get may depend on who you ask.

"The biggest misconception is that we're specifically targeting racial groups, we're specifically targeting black people, and that's just not the case," said Sgt. Jermaine Alley.

It's why he is on a mission, not only forming relationships with the community he serves, but also recruiting officers who look like the people in those communities.

"It's called a Friendly Face Syndrome. You walk into a room that's filled with folks that don't have the same face as yours, you may have a hard time relating. That's not a bias, it's just who we are," Alley said.

Henrico Police are also focusing on attracting more women to become officers.

"When we're dealing with specific calls for service, we might ask and assign a female officer to investigate that, because they feel more comfortable," Alley explained.

Right now, there's one woman, one African-American and one Hispanic recruit in a Henrico officer-training class that started in December. In the class before that, there were three women and three African-American men. When both classes graduate, there will be some 30 African-American officers on the force, compared to more than 600 total officers with Henrico Police.

"We want Asian officers. We want black officers. We want white officers. We want Hispanic officers, because they make up that community," Alley said.

People in Henrico gave their stamp of approval.

"We need people that come from the same place that you come from that can understand how you feel," Spragley added.

"I feel people would be more comfortable if it wasn't the stereotypical white cop pulling them over," said Moody Hassan.

Henrico is accepting applications until the end of February. They're looking for both police officers and people to take dispatch phone calls. You can apply here: https://henrico.us/services/jobs/

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