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EPD & Diversity

Diversity in the Erie Police Department and how that affects your community has been a question in the city, for quite some time.
Diversity in the Erie Police Department and how that affects your community has been a question in the city, for quite some time.

And trying to diversify the Erie Police Department is no new challenge, a thought echoed by Mayor Joe Sinnott "this is an issue we've been working on for a number of years, you know, we tried having applications go outside the region, we think that maybe this will get more folks within Erie County to apply and we're hopeful and I think it is important to have public safety, both police and fire, reflective of the entire community."

It's a push stretching back decades, in the seventies, laws were enacted requiring the city to hire black officers, one of whom, was Erie's first black woman on the force, Jacqueline Ratcliff-Brown.

She says she faced much adversity and discrimination when she came on board, but quickly learned how to overcome it.

Ratcliff-Brown retired in 2005 as a Deputy Chief, now she's hoping more members of the black community show an interest in joining the police force saying, "We can do a lot more as a people and as a contribution to law enforcement we can do a lot more."

Some members of the community believe that that contribution is necessary to help make the city safer and more united, and give our children someone to look up to.

Sonya Arrington is a local anti-violence activist and she says if the minority community saw a police department reflective of them, then violence might decrease.

However, some aren't sure if an increase in minorities on the force would definitely make for more peace, but it is agreed that diversity would have a positive impact.

And so would educating younger generations about the police and building trust in local law enforcement.

And as Erie Police Chief Randy Bowers makes the push to recruit more minority officers and to instill a sense of trust in police to the community many are waiting to see the results of his increased efforts to bring diversity to the force.

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