By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey says national incidents of police violence has made recruiting minorities for the Philadelphia police force much tougher.

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Tensions between police and communities across the United States in the wake of recent shooting dominated City Council’s questioning of Commissioner Ramsey this morning, during his testimony before a City Council committee working on the next city budget.

One-third of his force is African-American, Ramsey noted, adding that recruiting minorities amid headlines of police violence is not easy.

“The current environment that we’re in right now in policing is not all that positive,” he told councilmembers.  “There’s not a day that goes by when you don’t see something negative about what’s occurring in policing somewhere in the country.  That has an impact on young people, too, because they see that.”

To counter negative impressions of police work, Ramsey said, he has hired a new civilian recruiting expert — formerly in the military — to develop new strategies, “so that we can have more expertise in terms of how do you recruit, how do you target certain populations and go after them to get them interested in the profession.”

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And the commissioner said the police department plans on some good old-fashioned advertising to recruit minorities.

“We are looking at marketing:  how do you reach populations of people, specifically, so that we can increase the diversity of the department?”

Ramsey said the current force size is about 200 officers short of its budgeted size of about 6,500 officers.


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