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More women, minorities applying for Buffalo police exam

Chris Caya WBFO News

The ranks of the Buffalo Police Department could become more diverse, based on numbers disclosed Tuesday. Mayor Byron Brown says just over half of the 2,468 people who have applied to take the city's police exam in June are minorities and 29% are women.

Brown, in a City Hall news conference, said reflecting the city's diversity among those policing the streets is a goal.

"We also are focused on identifying individuals who have a guardian mindset, individuals who want to protect and serve the community," he said.

In announcing the numbers, Brown defended the city's decision to drop its college degree requirement for officers.

"We wanted to not only be in line with other departments across the country, we wanted to open up more opportunities for city residents, particularly individuals who might be low-income and did not have the ability financially to attend college," Brown said.     

A review of previous exams, the mayor said, shows that 60% of those who scored the highest did not have a college degree. He says the police department's "excellent benefit package" includes a stipend for continuing education.

"I know, personally, individuals with four-year degrees from Canisius that didn't pass or barely passed. I don't think a college degree makes a good police officer or determines who will do well on this exam," Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said.

Derenda said the department is looking to hire about 200 new officers. Salaries range from just over $50,000 to $66,000.

The exam is being held June 18.