By Rockland County Executive Ed Day
There is one relatively easy way to help diffuse the tensions we see across the nation between police and the communities they serve: encourage communities to become the police.
Integrating the community into the police force is a key to successful community policing.
Here is Rockland, residents now have the chance to join local law enforcement departments.
Rockland will be administering the civil service test for police that our municipal departments as well as the Rockland Sheriff’s Department uses to hire officers.
The test will be given November 19. Applications are due September 30.
It’s the first time in four years that the test has been offered. The last time it was given, more than 1,800 people took it.
We hope to see the same amount of interest this time.
Anyone who has an interest in law enforcement should take this opportunity, which is the first step in being hired.
I can say from my own experience that there is no job more important or rewarding than being a member of a police department.
Police are the thread that helps to weave the fabric of society together.
They are the “thin blue line” that stands between us and evil.
Wherever and whenever someone is in trouble, the first person they call for is a cop.
I was 28 when I wore the badge for the first time. I had a 20-year career with the New York City Police Department. After I left the NYPD as a police commander, I later became chief of detectives in the city of Baltimore.
Both were tough, but immensely rewarding positions. There’s nothing like being the one to come to the aid of a person who needs help or protecting members of the community.
We are making efforts to reach out to people in many of our communities to urge them to consider a career in law enforcement.
The Rockland County Department of Personnel has met with the Black Minister’s Alliance, the NAACP, the Westchester/Rockland chapter of the Guardians, the Rockland Community Trust and members of other ethnic and religious communities, including Muslim and Hasidic.
The state allows departments to look for potential officers with special skills, like the ability to speak another language.
Here in Rockland, we have police departments that are looking for candidates who can speak Spanish, Creole and Yiddish.
The Sheriff’s Department and many police departments are also making outreach efforts.
We have also contacted schools and colleges. We will be stepping up our social media campaign as the test date approaches.
Law enforcement is not an easy career.
The NYPD had something called the honor legion that was made of three characteristics expected of police:
• Courage: mental or moral strength to venture and withstand danger.
• Loyalty: faithful in allegiance to one’s government and fellow officers.
• Fidelity: exactness and accuracy in details.
A badge and a weapon and the responsibility associated with them is a serious matter, and one that cannot be taken lightly.
We welcome anyone who is up to the challenge of the job to take the test. More information can be found at https://mycivilservice.rocklandgov.com/exams