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New San Joaquin County program wants women, minorities in law enforcement

The program, Law Enforcement Applicant Development (L.E.A.D.), is designed to mentor women and minorities to develop them for law enforcement careers.

STOCKTON, Calif. — San Joaquin County is working with a national organization to get more minorities and women in law enforcement careers.

The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) partnered with local law enforcement agencies throughout San Joaquin County to create a program that focuses on recruiting and developing them for these careers.

The program, Law Enforcement Applicant Development (L.E.A.D.), is made possible because of a collaborative effort between the Stockton Police Department, San Joaquin Sheriff's Office and Stockton Unified School District.

It's broken down into three components: Community Engagement, Mentorship and Curriculum.

For community engagement, this includes having outreach efforts at schools and various community-based organizations who will refer applicants to the program.

Once accepted into program, people will be assigned a mentor who will follow them all the way through the hiring process. The curriculum is designed and focused toward improving their chances of being hired. 

“Through the history of policing, it has really marginalized certain groups like minorities and women," Richard Barries, Chief of Police with Stockton Unified School District, said. "And so the L.E.A.D. program is attempting to break down those barriers that exist because of the history of law enforcement.”

Barries, who also happens to be the chapter president for NOBLE Central Valley, says this program is necessary because he personally struggled to become an officer due to lack of mentorship. He also feels it will help bridge the gap of distrust between communities of color and law enforcement, in addition to bring more representation to law enforcement careers.

“We have an unequal playing field," Barries said. "If you look across the nation, you’ll see that minorities and women are underrepresented at all levels from officer ranks to also command levels. So the idea of this program is to level the playing field.”

Next month, they will start taking applications. The goal is to start the program in August. Anyone interested in applying can visit noblecvc.org. Anyone between the ages of 14-25 are eligible to apply.

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