“It doesn’t surprise me. It’s unfortunate that we have actually hit this point in American history where if you think about it, since the 90s, we have been on this community policing push where we have been trying to increase our ranks of diverse officers in our communities. It only took five years for the BLM movement and the defund police movement to reverse that whole process,” said Texas congressional candidate Tre Pennie told “Fox & Friends.”
The former Dallas police sergeant spoke about recent conversations with young Black men about joining the police force.
“I got a group of young African-Americans getting off of the bus. I was trying hopefully thinking they were going to be excited about engaging the police. One of the guys said to me I’m not going to talk to no ‘racist police.’ I got to talking to the young man. I pulled out my I.D. and I told him I was police for 22 years. And I broke that ice. And he got excited these kids were so excited to see that I was a police officer,” Pennie said, encouraging police agencies to engage with more young people in their communities.
The New York Police Department noticed a 14 percent drop in Black officers since 2008. The total dropped from 4,162 to 3,598 this September. Similar declines have taken place in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Chicago.
According to a piece in The Atlantic by David A. Graham, police forces are now experiencing a wave of Black police officers reaching retirement age and efforts to replace them have been futile.
“Black employment in the Philadelphia Police Department has fallen 19 percent since 2017. The number of Black officers in the Chicago Police Department has dropped by 12 percent since May 2019. Even Washington, D.C., long a leader in minority-police recruitment, has had a 25 percent decrease since 1998, when two-thirds of officers were Black, to 50 percent today, though the city also got whiter over that time period. The LAPD has seen a 24 percent drop in Black officers, from 1,175 in 2010 to 885 today, though the department’s ranks have also shrunk,” Graham wrote.
There were 259 more murders in the first half of 2021 compared to the first half of 2020, and 548 more compared to the first half of 2019 in 29 major U.S. cities, according to a to the Council on Criminal Justice’s (CCJ) pandemic crime report.
The study’s updated findings by CCJ, a nonpartisan criminal justice policy organization, indicate an upward trend in violent crime that began in 2020 at the start of the pandemic, though CCJ notes that increases in murders slowed between the first and second quarters of this year.
Former NYPD detective Dr. Oscar Odom agreed with Pennie, suggesting increasing more recruitment at historically Black colleges and universities, and through the military.
Furthermore, he said a tuition reimbursement program would draw in more African-American recruits, especially those who have college degrees.
“If you have some sort of loan forgiveness, tuition reimbursement or saying you served the police department five years, we absolve your loans. That will get them inside the door. Then they may like what they are doing and see how they are giving back to the community and continue to stay on the police department,” Odom said.
“But, we have to go out there and reach out. Given Covid-19, people realize work-life balances have changed. This is also a dangerous job. Though rewarding, it’s dangerous. We have to look at those things and the public needs to support the police more that would help a whole lot.”
Fox News’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.
Joshua Q. Nelson is a reporter for FoxNews.com. You can find him on Twitter @joshuaqnelson.