As a law enforcement officer with 34 years of service in New Hampshire and South Florida, I was offended and amazed to hear Mayor Mark Funkhouser’s ideas to improve minority police recruitment include ignoring felonies and drug violations of those “16, 17, 21” (1/18, Local, “Mayor’s plan for minority recruitment”). The mayor passed this off as stupid youthful behavior.
I teach police background investigation around the country. I personally know the dedication and work ethic of the Kansas City Police Department’s background investigation unit, and I am sure they are equally concerned and offended by the mayor’s attitude.
The mayor and political leaders around the country are losing sight of a critical goal in the hiring of our police officers. Police officers are held to a higher standard, and true professional officers accept that responsibility.
Mr. Mayor, hire the most qualified candidates who have demonstrated acceptable law-abiding behavior regardless of race.
History has given us many examples of wakes that were caused by hiring youthful felons and drug users. Ever hear of the “Miami River Cops”?
Because the Kansas City Police Department can’t recruit enough “qualified” minority applicants, Mayor Funkhouser says the city should consider lowering the requirements and standards for those seeking to enter the police academy.
How would you feel if medical schools started accepting minority students with poorer grades and questionable background checks just to fill the seats?
Would you feel safe knowing the pilot at the wheel of your commercial jet barely passed their take off and landing class, and got into flight school because the airline started accepting less adequate applicants?
Race shouldn’t be a factor if you want to become a police officer. What does matter is that you have the smarts, physical qualifications and proper, ethical background necessary to make the grade.
Kansas City shouldn’t “dumb down” the hiring process simply because not enough qualified minorities are making the cut.
Police officers take on a serious job. They carry a gun and make life and death decisions.
The 1984 comedy movie “Police Academy” was about selecting a bunch of misfits and making them police officers. Let’s keep these less competent jesters in blue on Comedy Central and not patrolling the streets of Kansas City.