Village of Pelham Police Department seeks members of ‘underrepresented groups’ for next civil service exams


Village of Pelham police vehicles parked next to Town Hall, which houses the department.

The Village of Pelham Police Department is attempting to take steps towards police reform by seeking members from underrepresented groups as the village prepares to ratify its racial action plan.

This comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order last year regarding police reform, requiring each local government in New York to “…review the needs of the community served by its police agency, and evaluate the department’s current policies and practices” by April 2021.

This year, the department made an effort to better publicize civil service exams in order to improve communication between police and the community. In particular, the department encouraged female and BIPOC Pelham residents to sign up for the examination with the aim of being more inclusive towards typically underrepresented groups.

The recommendation to take the step was made by the Steering Committee on Policing and Inclusion, a panel formed in August 2020 during phase one of the village’s response to Cuomo’s executive order to identify and address areas that may play a role in systemic racism in law enforcement.

Additionally, Westchester County said in a press release the county will “reach out to diverse communities and organizations this month to increase awareness on the upcoming exam,” in an effort to endure all members of the community have access to the opportunity to apply to be a county officer.

In a Facebook Live, a discussion on the requirements to become an officer included County Executive George Latimer, Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins, Commissioner of Public Safety Thomas Gleason and Deputy Public Safety Commissioner Terrance Raynor. They expressed their eagerness to welcome a more diverse group of officers in every level of law enforcement. 

“It is more important than ever that our police departments reflect the diversity of the communities they serve,” Latimer explained. “The goal of increasing diversity of our police departments begins with having a diverse pool of applicants take this test.”

He said the county will try to diversify the pool of applicants by sharing information about the exam with community-based groups, houses of worship, non-profit organizations, local colleges, libraries and employment agencies.

The Village of Pelham is planning to share information on the civil service exams throughout the month of March.