NEW YORK (Oct. 30)
An intensive cooperative effort last spring by a number of Jewish organizations to recruit Jewish young men and women for the New York City police force may result in little, it any, long-term increase in the number of Jewish police officers, a key figure in that campaign declared today.
The campaign last spring, part of a police department program to increase representation by all minorities in the police ranks, was organized by the Jewish groups to persuade a maximum number of young Jews, as a first step, to take a Civil Service examination given last June 30 and repeated on Sunday, July, I, for Sabbath-observing Jews.
It was the second campaign for more Jewish police in recent years, according to Louis Weiser, president of the Council of Jewish Organizations in Civil Service. He is a former president of the Shomrim Society, comprised of Jewish police, a member organization of the Council.
Weiser told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that a recruiting drive for a 1973 examination added “very few Jews” to the New York City force. Moreover, he pointed out, the recruiting campaign this year, for the first time in the history of the police department, made provisions for Sabbath observers both to take the Civil Service test by arranging a Sunday test date and to have assurances that duty time would be arranged for Orthodox appointees so they would have full opportunity to observe Jewish religious requirements.
The recruiting drive was directed by Capt. Donald Schroeder, who is in charge of police recruiting. A Jewish detective, Alan Sperling, directed the Jewish recruitment effort. He was aided by the Shomrim Society, the Jewish Community Relations Council, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and the Federation Guidance and Employment Service.
JEWS ARE LESS THAN 2% OF POLICE FORCE
There are some 700 Jews currently on the police force, about 30 of them women, totaling less than two percent of the force, far- below the Jewish proportion of the city population. Figures from the police department released at the start of the spring campaign indicated that the 24,000- member police force had seven percent Blacks, two percent Hispanic members and about two percent women.
Weiser estimated that some 1200 Jews took the June 30-July I tests and that 600 to 650 passed, including about 150 women. Those who passed the Civil Service examination must also pass medical, physical and psychological tests. Those who pass both the examination and the qualifying tests get provisional appointments and enter the Police Academy for six months of study. They are then appointed to the police force as openings occur.
Weiser estimated that no more than 200 Jews would survive the series of tests and receive appointments. He said that because of the increasing age of police generally, including the 700 Jewish police officers, between 200 and 300 Jewish police are expected to leave the force via retirement during the four-year life of the current list. Some provisional appointees, including the Jewish ones, are expected to drop out because of discouragement over lengthy waiting periods before being hired. He said the result could be even fewer Jewish police than at present.
He added that, to some extent, the projects were academic for the time being because the Black Guardians, an association of Black police, and the Hispanic Society of the Police Department, had started court action to block appointment of successful candidates on grounds that the June Civil Service tests allegedly discriminated against Blacks and His panics. Pending the outcome of the court action no new hiring of officers will be made, Jews included.
LESSONS FROM THE CAMPAIGN
Robert Rega, Shomrim Society president, said that one of the lessons learned from the spring campaign was that much more time was needed for effective recruitment. He said the Shomrim Society plans to sponsor essay contests in January at a maximum number of Jewish schools on the importance of adequate Jewish representation on the police force.
Rega said the educational campaign was being organized at this early stage to sensitize not only young people and their parents to the importance of more Jewish police but also rabbis and yeshiva principals who, he reported, had been resistant to the spring campaign. Rabbi Alvin Kass, the Shomrim Society chaplain, will arrange for contacts with Jewish schools and synagogues for the essay contest.
Weiser said the essay contests are planned as an annual event with certificates, medals and cash awards to be presented to winners each June. He said the Shomrim Society was planning a panel of speakers to be made available to interested Jewish groups and schools and would broaden its participation in helping to deal with such problems as synagogue vandalism. Weiser said the general plans call for such educational activities by the Shomrim Society up to the next Civil Service examinations for police four years from now.