NAACP offers scholarship to increase black officers in Grand Rapids

Posted at 9:39 PM, Oct 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-02 22:36:20-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The NAACP is pushing for more minority police officers in Grand Rapids.

The organization it hoping a new scholarship will encourage more African-Americans to apply to work for the Grand Rapids Police Department.

The NAACP said that the Grand Rapids community is about 20 percent African-American and 15 percent Hispanic, but that the police force doesn’t reflect those numbers.

The organization said that with racial tensions in Ferguson, Mo., and a video of Grand Rapids police tasing a young man downtown, they want to take steps to help the community bridge a gap with law enforcement.

The President Hazel R. Lewis Law Enforcement Scholarship of $2,500 dollars will go to the selected winner, who must be an African-American male or female.  The money will go toward their academy tuition.

“We could be one incident away from a Ferguson, Mo., and so this is a step to try to be proactive in terms of helping to build those relationships with local law enforcement,” said Cle Jackson with the NAACP Grand Rapids.

The NAACP said that it will work alongside GRPD to pick the recipient, adding that they hope to make that selection shortly after the first of the year.