Westchester Seeks Diverse Applicant Pool for Upcoming Police Civil Service Examination
(White Plains, N.Y.) – Westchester County will be holding a police officer civil service exam for the first time in five years and a special effort is under way to encourage more people of color to take the test and pursue a law enforcement career.
County Executive George Latimer said the Department of Public Safety will be reaching out to diverse communities and organizations this month to increase awareness of the upcoming exam. The exam will be held May 15 or May 16. The deadline to file to take the test is March 29. Details are available at www.westchestergov.com/hr.
“It is more important than ever that our police departments reflect the diversity of the communities they serve,” Latimer said. “That is a message we have heard consistently in a year where police reform and reimagining has been a top priority. The goal of increasing the diversity of our police departments begins with having a diverse pool of applicants take this test.”
The exam, to be administered by the County’s Department of Human Resources, will result in a list of eligible police officer candidates for the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, the cities of Rye and Peekskill, and all towns and villages in the County.
Latimer said the County Police and the Department of Human Resources will be sharing information with a variety of organizations to help ensure that a diverse pool of applicants takes the exam. These include community-based groups, houses of worship, non-profit agencies, local colleges, libraries and employment centers.
Paul Hood, a retired Sleepy Hollow police sergeant and president of the Westchester Rockland Guardians Association, is also encouraging men and women of color to pursue a police career.
“In a career as a Law Enforcement Officer, you have an opportunity to learn and grow as a person. It affords you the opportunity to make a positive difference in the communities you serve, allowing you to become a beacon of light to many,” said Hood, who is also a member of the Westchester County Police Board.
Matthew Lewis, a detective with the Westchester County Police, is also encouraging young men and women of color to take the upcoming test. Lewis had his eye on a career in sports media when he was a college but took a police exam after a police department recruiter chatted with him on campus.
“I have my degree in broadcasting and I took the police exam as a Plan B. Plan B turned into Plan A,” Lewis said. He has never looked back or regretted his choice.
“I love what I do and I wouldn’t be in my 27th year if I didn’t. I would advise anyone to take a look at a law enforcement career. I have had a very rewarding career, and as an African-American male I know I’ve made a difference,” he said.
The County’s recruiting and outreach efforts across Westchester will include presentations by County Police personnel that may take place in person, when possible, and via videoconference to reach as many people as possible. The County and the Westchester County Police are also utilizing its social media channels to spread the news about the test.
Commissioner Thomas A. Gleason noted that the test is only given once every four years on average. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the test could not be held as planned in 2020. He encouraged anyone considering a law enforcement career not to miss the opportunity.
Gleason also said the County Police would not only be raising awareness about the exam but encouraging test-takers to aim for a career with the Westchester County Police.
“We are very proud of our Department, very proud of our people and very proud of the work we do every day to keep Westchester safe,” Gleason said. “If you are looking for a rewarding career, and an opportunity for professional growth and advancement, the Westchester County Police might be the right place for you.”
Gleason said anyone interested in knowing more about the Westchester County Police can find information on the Department’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages; on its You Tube channel; and on the Department’s website.
Organizations interested in setting up a virtual presentation can send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Among the requirements to take the test:
• All candidates for the exam must be a legal resident of Westchester County at the time of the test and for at least one month prior to it. Candidates will be required to submit proof of residency when requested.
• Applicants must not have reached their 35th birthday by the test date; exceptions are made for persons with military service;
• A high school diploma or equivalent is required;
• U.S. citizenship is required to be appointed as a police officer. It is not required to take the civil service exam.