|Black Shield Police Association President|
Lynn Hampton, a 21-year veteran of
the Cleveland police force
CLEVELAND, Ohio-Black Shield Police Association President Lynn Hampton will speak before the Carnegie Roundtable of greater Cleveland on the upcoming Cleveland police patrolman's entrance
exam and strategies to increase the number of Blacks in the ranks of the largely White Cleveland police force at 2 pm on Wednesday, February 11 at Angie's Soul Food Restaurant at 3400 Saint Clair Avenue in downtown Cleveland.
The event is open to the public, organizers said.
The Carnegie Roundtable is a Black quasi-think tank led by Charles E. Bibb Sr., who is upset because the city is roughly 58 percent Black and only some 25 percent of the city's more than 1,500 police officers are Black. The racial gap is the eighth worst of American cities with over 100,000 people, data show.
|Carnegie Roundtable President|
Charles E. Bibb Sr.
"The Cleveland police force should reflect the racial
population of the city," said Bibb.
A 21-year veteran of the Cleveland police force, Hampton told Cleveland Urban News.Com that the
Black Shield organization, which was founded in 1946 and is a non-profit group of Black Cleveland police officers with a purported mission to promote equality, justice, fairness, and effectiveness in law enforcement, is working to help interested Blacks that made applications by last year's deadline pass the patrol officer's entrance exam.
"We are currently helping some prospective candidates prepare for the exam and others that need help can call (216) 323-6155," said Hampton.
The police exam is administered by the Civil Service Commission and will be given at Public Hall in downtown Cleveland on February 28.
Passing the exam is just one factor in becoming a Cleveland police officer, according to Hampton, who said also that some 400 of the 1,300 to to 1,400 applicants for this year's class are Black, and that other hiring factors include credit scores, military service, and prior employment, though a felony is automatic disqualification under state law.
Hampton said that the Cleveland police patrolman's cadet preparation program is a six-month training program, and that this year's class will have some 45 to 50 participants.
Cadets of the 133rd graduating class were sworn in last month by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, who is Black, and who denied employment to two cadets, one of whom was fired by neighboring East Cleveland for alleged excessive force in shooting up a car during a traffic stop.
The police union is fighting Jackson's disqualification of the cadet Brandon Smith, who is White and worked previously in East Cleveland, Cleveland Police Patrolman's President Steve Loomis has said.
This year's police cadet class comes on the heels of high profile police killings of unarmed Blacks late last year, including 12-year-old Tamir Rice, and Tanisha Anderson, a 37-year-old mentally ill woman killed in police custody at her home on the city's east side.
Timothy Loehmann, a White rookie cop who shot and killed Rice for sporting a toy gun at a public park on the city's west side, was fired by a small town Ohio police department for alleged incompetence, his personnel file reveals, and city authorities did not even check it before he was hired by Cleveland, negligence that has angered community activists as they continue to protest.
To make matters worse, 13 non-Black Cleveland cops, slinging 137 bullets, gunned down unarmed Blacks Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell the night of November 29, 2012, following a high speed car chase from Cleveland to neighboring East Cleveland.
Also dogging police and the Jackson administration is a scathing U.S. Department of Justice report issued last December by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the country's first Black attorney general, that found systemic problems in the Cleveland Police Department, including a pattern of excessive force, and the mistreatment of the mentally ill.
Among other demands, community activists, faith-based groups and a host of other community organizations want more diversity in the police force to become a requirement of a consent decree currently being negotiated by city officials and the federal government relative to the DOJ's findings.
Mayor Jackson, however, could diversify his top brass at will per the city charter as Police Chief Calvin Williams, whom Jackson promoted last year from deputy police chief after promoting Michael McGrath from police chief to safety director, is the only Black on the mayor's top level law enforcement leadership team.
(www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com)