NJ State Police Steps Up Diversity Efforts

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The New Jersey State Police are making a push to increase diversity within their ranks. Currently, the majority of State Troopers are white men, with only 17% being Latino, 6% black, and 2% Asian.

To change this, officials are stepping up their recruitment efforts. They're attending job fairs and community events, and they're even looking beyond the borders of New Jersey to find diverse candidates. The application period is open until May 3rd.

One of the people leading this effort is Amber Neely, one of only 10 black female troopers in the New Jersey State Police. "Representation to me is very important, especially being a black female in uniform. It's very rare that you see a black female in uniform, especially a trooper," she said to CBS News.

The head of the New Jersey State Police, Col. Patrick J. Callahan, agrees. He said the agency is actively recruiting a diverse group of candidates. "Although we've made certain strides, I think where we're really struggling is in women recruitment, in minority women recruitment. I think the last class, we didn't have one black female recruit," he said to CBS News. "I think the public wants to see women and men representative of the communities that they grew up in."

However, recruitment has been challenging. The number of applicants has dropped significantly in recent years, from 15,000 when Callahan became a trooper to just 3,000 for the last class.

Despite these challenges, the New Jersey State Police are determined to increase their numbers and diversity. After graduation in July, they hope to have over 3,400 troopers, which would be the most the force has ever had.

For those interested in applying, visit NJtrooper.com. The starting pay for a trooper is $72,000, with top pay reaching $150,000.

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