Police-Fire Diversity Sought

The local NAACP wants the Peoria fire and police departments to be more diverse.

It presented its ten-step plan to City Council last night.

“The object of the plan is to get the number of African Americans in the police department up to 40 percent,” says Peoria NAACP President Donald Jackson.

Jackson says a cadet program targeting African-Americans could create interest in the two departments. Recruiting from the City is also a recommendation. Currently, 18 percent of the police department and 14 percent of the fire department are minorities.

The City seems to be actively taking on the challenge of creating a cadet program for the two departments, which would cost $25,000 per year, per cadet.

“We would like to try and build that into the budget recommendations that are coming out next week,” says City Manager Patrick Urich.

Jackson agreed that the City seemed ready to support the NAACP’s goals.

The NAACP committee has several suggestions for how to pay for the recommendations, including using city funds or seeking dollars elsewhere, such as federal grants and private funding.

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