MINORITY RECRUITMENT: Long Beach police and city officials are working with black community leaders to recruit more black police cadets.
Officials said they are also discussing changing the city's written exam for police recruits, as well as expanding city-sponsored outreach programs that generate interest among blacks in police careers.
Last summer, a group of black ministers in the city expressed concern that the department has too few black police officers. Leaders of the group, which includes NAACP representatives, would not comment on the latest dialogue.
In 1993, about 18% of the department's 9,000 job applicants were black, but blacks accounted for only 4% of the 100 cadets accepted into the city's police academy. Seven percent of Long Beach's police officers are black, while blacks make up 13% of the city population.
Later this month, city officials plan to recommend that the City Council change the Police Department's entrance exams and begin training all applicants how to take the tests, said Deputy City Manager Joe Rouzan.
"It seems to be that the minority candidates and the female candidates may be having a more difficult time in that [written exam] part of the [recruitment] process," Rouzan said.
Mario Beas, deputy director of the city civil service department, said that although his office plans to review the police tests, "there's no substitute for bringing in quality applicants."
City recruitment officer Roberto Uranga said the best way to draw more minority recruits would be to expand recruitment programs.