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New Police Recruiting Techniques Shared at Ohio NAACP's 88th Annual Convention

photo of Charmin Leon
Cleveland Police Sgt. Charmin Leon (standing) says her department is working to recruit people more skilled in conflict resolution, a skill that's needed in the city since only about 7 percent of their calls end in an arrest.

The 88th annual state NAACP convention took place in Canton over the weekend, and included a panel on community policing with officials from several Ohio police departments.

Cleveland Police Sgt. Charmin Leon is in charge of recruiting for the Police, Fire and EMS. During the roundtable, she said in addition to the challenge of finding candidates skilled at conflict resolution, they’re also working to let the public know they’re changing how they recruit officers.

“Everybody in the neighborhood goes to a beauty and barbershop, you know?”

Leon says the department is doing community outreach with the help of the Cleveland-based Urban Barber Association.

“We said, ‘Can we come into some of your shops? Can you talk to your members and see if we can come in and listen to the community’s concerns about what’s going on? And better inform them about the changes that are taking place?”

Leon says the program is proving successful, and she hopes other departments start exploring similar venues for reaching the public.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.