North Miami PD Drops Requirement in Bid to Recruit Blacks
AP, Local10.com (Miami), Apr. 23
NORTH MIAMI, Fla. — The North Miami police department dropped a swimming requirement for applicants, saying they need new officers and want to encourage blacks to sign up.
North Miami Police Department swimming requirement survey Do you agree with the department’s decision to eliminate its swimming requirement? Thank you for participating in our Local10.com survey. Yes No North Miami police say they are dropping the requirement for a year. They say few departments require swimming and their officers rarely save people in water.
“Our swimming requirement may give the false perception that we are not serious in our efforts to hire Haitian police applicants,” police chief Gwendolyn Boyd-Savage wrote in a memo explaining the decision. Boyd-Savage is black.
“They have been intimidated because they don’t swim, very few of them swim,” said Mayor Joe Celestin, who is Haitian-American. “They have the ability to learn how to swim, but many of them are not that great of a swimmer as the standard, current requirement that we have. We want to bring them in and give them a chance to learn.”
The requirement is for police recruits to swim 150 feet without stopping while wearing all clothing except shoes, assistant police chief Doug Brown said Thursday.
Critics say race and ethnicity are not factors when it comes to swimming.
Assistant Police Chief Doug Brown said, “We are not here to make any type of cultural assessments. We are looking to attract both minority and non-minority candidates who would normally not apply.”