Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder voiced a legitimate concern that 1,600 Black applicants out of 2,800 initial Black applicants apparently decided not to take the police examinations ["Ryder apologizes as more condemn words," News, May 28].
Such a huge, unfortunate decline during the recruitment phase of hiring police officers underscores the need for greater efforts by recruiters to establish more effective methods and strategies to encourage initial applicants from underrepresented groups to take the exam.
Upon request by an applicant, a mentor — either from the police department or from a supportive community organization — should be available to provide ongoing counseling, direction and guidance. Free access to in-person or online classes to prepare for the written exam should exist. Free training for preparing for the physical exam also should exist.
As Ryder aptly recognized, members of underrepresented groups may not have the same cultural backgrounds and life experiences that promote careers in law enforcement. Achieving a more diverse police force will require more creative, imaginative and proactive efforts so in the future many more Black applicants and members of other underrepresented groups decide to take the exam and ultimately qualify for a coveted police badge.
Robert L. Douglas, Woodmere
Commissioner Patrick Ryder’s perception of Black people as coming from broken homes, Jewish people as having a proclivity toward lawyering, and Asian people gravitating toward medicine shows how limited his upbringing was, by two committed parents surrounded by similarly minded "families that had cops in it."
It’s called "narrow-mindedness," and it comes from not being exposed to elements outside the circle of his upbringing and results in seeing others as different and less capable. His calling a home without a mother and father "broken" is a prime indicator of outdated thinking, and he really needs to reevaluate his entire societal bearing, not just apologize for misspeaking.
We don’t live in the 1950s anymore, and he needs to open his mind to newer social norms if he wants to be an effective leader.
Robert Shepard, Lynbrook
In defense of Commissioner Patrick Ryder, he pointed out that it wasn’t a lack of interest in minority recruitment by the Nassau County Police Department but rather a seeming lack of interest on the part of minority applicants.
He cited possible reasons such as an absence of role models in minority families. Sociologists have been speculating on the negative impact of systemic racism on minorities for years.
By bringing up this subject, Ryder is confronting these negative effects of systemic racism, not endorsing them. Yet he is accused of promoting racist stereotypes, and there are demands for his resignation. How unfair!
Whatever happened to freedom of speech and freedom of thought? Be careful what you think and say; the thought police are on patrol and they are taking names.
Jim Brennan, Rocky Point
I agree with Commissioner Patrick Ryder’s comments. They may not be all the reasons why there isn’t more diversity in hiring, but they could be part of the reason.
I saw firsthand how a friend in law enforcement encouraged and kept his son on track to becoming a police officer. He drove his son into the city at 3 a.m. for interviews, helped him with paperwork and gave him endless encouragement.
The hours he supported his son, now a police officer, were enormous. Let’s not forget that Ryder also said, "I can fix the kid, I can help him get better and work with him . . . and get him onto the job." Everyone has a right to his opinion.
Paula Greco, Massapequa
To all the people calling for Commissioner Patrick Ryder’s head, how have you contributed to diversity in the Nassau County Police Department?
How many young people have you personally supported and encouraged to become a police officer? No doubt nowhere near as many as he and the department have.
Lorraine Hannon, Rockville Centre
Editor’s note: The writer supervised the Nassau County Police Department’s diversity recruitment program for three years in the 1990s.
Decades ago, diversity became a banner slogan with good intentions, along with equal employment opportunity and other social programs to level the playing field. Unforeseen were the results of classifying citizens into racial and ethnic profiles. Our nation became great by being a melting pot of ethnicity, race and religion with the free expression of ideas and opinions.
Sadly, racial diversification turned into censorship of opinion with woke and progressive thoughts in full swing, responsible for the new racism.
Joe Ruszczyk, Kings Park
Editor’s note: The letters selected on this topic are in proportion to those received.