NAACP, Lancaster police team up during hiring process

Lancaster

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – As the president of the Lancaster NAACP, Blanding Watson wants to see a police department that looks like the city it serves.

“The demographics here in Lancaster is about 59% communities of color,” Watson said.

The NAACP is teaming up with the Bureau of Police as the department looks to hire. The NAACP and local schools are offering test prep classes for the police exam.

Watson said they’re trying to change the look of a force that is almost 90 percent white.

“We’re just trying to better police and community relations,” Watson said. “This is a small part of it.”

The NAACP has worked with the bureau in the past. The two organizations worked together on a new excessive force policy after an officer was seen tasing a man as he was sitting on a sidewalk.

Watson said the test prep could be the next step in a blooming relationship.

“Besides the test prep portion, there is also training that’s part of the process as well,” Watson said.

Police Chief Jarrad Berkihiser said he appreciates the support the NAACP has offered.

“Having an organization like the NAACP assist us with something like this, it goes a long way with showing we’re looking for diversity and inclusion,” Berkihiser added.

The first test prep course is this weekend.

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