In response to a question from Eichenwald, the police chief said none of the four new officers are female or minorities. He said the department currently has 19 Hispanics, six African-Americans and 11 females.
Guridy encouraged the chief to keep working hard to recruit more minorities and women to the police department. Said MacLean: “We do that as much as we can within the constraints of Civil Service.”
MacLean reminded council that police officers do not have to be Allentown residents.
Council member Peter Schweyer said whenever possible council should support “any opportunity we have to promote somebody that lives in the city of Allentown to a taxpayer-funded job.”
Schweyer said many people have Allentown mailing addresses, but actually live in surrounding townships. Council does not make public specific addresses of police, but Schweyer was skeptical the four new patrolmen actually live in Allentown, Bethlehem, Quakertown and Harrisburg. He suggested in the future they should be identified by the municipalities in which they live.
In response to suggestions from two residents that the city should do more to publicize swearing-in ceremonies for new police officers and fire fighters, officials said the city issues news releases to local media and announces those ceremonies on its Web site. Schweyer suggested they also should be announced when council hires new officers.