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York City Police aim to attract more diverse candidates

To recruit more officers, the York City Police Department is awarding bonus points on the civil service test to candidates with diverse backgrounds.

YORK, Pa. — Many police departments across Central Pennsylvania and around the nation are struggling to fill open positions as they're faced with an increased resignations.

"I think the times have changed and there are so many career fields, that one, pay better, are less problematic," said York City Police Commissioner Michael Muldrow.

According to data from Policeforum.org, police departments reported an 18 percent increase in resignations rate in the 2020-2021 year, compared to 2019.

Muldrow said the struggle to gain new candidates stems from cops breaking laws.

"[Cops] are being highlighted in the news which has allowed a wider audience to see some of the bad things that are occurring with some of the bad apples in the profession," said Muldrow.

To fill the officer deficit, Muldrow plans to recruit more people with diverse backgrounds: openly gay, bilingual, women and people of color. Those candidates will be awarded bonus points on the civil service exam, an incentive that was previously only given to military veterans.

"Through the old civil service, that would tend to leave your department full of military vets. But some of the candidates and some of the things that you're looking for, you may not always get because they're not going to make it at the top of the list," said Muldrow.

Some locals believe giving bonus points will attract more job seekers.

"I think people have been nervous to even try and when they see the horizon get broaden to more women and people of color, I think it will make people feel more comfortable in trying,"  said Jessie Schaffner, a York County resident.

But opponents say the point systems should be abolished as it gives an unfair advantage.

"I think it should be equal all the way around, regardless if you’ve been a veteran or what have you," said Robert Boone, a York County resident.

To attract younger recruits, Muldrow is proposing to begin a cadet program with at least 20 junior officers. 

For those interested in becoming a police officer, more information can be found here.

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