To be fair, it's not merely the Times tootling the multicultural horn; the top cops are playing from the same score.
The Times liked the sentimental narrative well enough to repeat it, as indicated by an earlier incarnation from 2005, In Police Class, Blue Comes in Many Colors (written by reporter Jennifer 8. Lee whose unusual middle name is itself a salute to diversity by reflecting Chinese culture's obsession with the number eight as a bringer of good fortune).
[From Around the Globe, Serving New York, New York Times, January 4, 2010]"Selective certification" sounds suspiciously like lowered standards. But when diversity is the goal, values like competence tend to suffer.
The New York Police Department has sent its officers to 11 cities around the globe – even once dispatching a husband and wife to Abu Dhabi. But the return from the world has been far greater.
Of the 5,593 officers hired since July 2006, when the department began tracking the nationalities of police officers, 1,042 of them were foreign-born – hailing from 88 countries, according to department records.
The Dominican Republic leads the way, with 263 officers born there. The list also includes nations that would have been well represented two generations ago: Italy, Ireland and Germany, for example. But those three countries account for a total of only eight officers, far surpassed by those born in Haiti, 78; Jamaica, 59; Pakistan, 29; and Russia, 18.
The department has made a concerted effort to become more diverse: Recruitment advertisements are now routinely placed in foreign-language newspapers, and new recruits are categorized by their potential to be trained for certain assignments – like counterterrorism or community affairs – based on their language, culture or place of birth, something Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly refers to as "selective certification."
It has all worked to shatter past notions of a police force made up mostly of white men of European descent who followed their fathers and grandfathers onto the job.Funny, I always thought multigenerational cop families had extra pride in their profession because it was interwoven with kinship connections. That family value is dismissed also in the rush to diversity.
That, Mr. Kelly said, "has changed dramatically, and it has changed for the better. As the city has become more diverse, the department has become, I believe, the most diverse police department in the world and we're proud of it, and we want to continue to maintain our diversity. It's good for policing; it makes us a more effective organization."
The department's newest class of rookies underscores the trend.The item above is the general article; also part of the package are three upbeat portraits of individual officers, including Detective Ahmed Nasser, Yemen.
Of the 250 new officers who graduated last Monday, 65 of them were foreign-born, hailing from 23 countries, the police said. Those officers spoke a total of 28 different languages, including Bengali, Punjabi, Yoruba and Creole.
Ahmed Nasser was a young recruit in March 2000, one of three people of Arab descent in his Police Academy class, he recalled, and one of about 20 in the entire department.You have to wonder how thoroughly the 1500 Muslim officers were vetted. Even Muslims who don't have a radical past can apparently catch the jihad bug from the internet these days. Islam is a hugely effective method of mass mind control in part because the five-times-daily prayers mean the tenets of Islam are never far from Muslims' thoughts. There have been many cases of Muslim immigrants who appeared assimilated to America but were pulled to the dark side, like Minneapolis-raised Shirwa Ahmed who shot hoops with friends and attended Roosevelt High School's prom, but later blew up himself and 30 others in Mogadishu.
At times, his culture could feel singular to him. He recalled his first assignment, in Brooklyn's 76th Precinct, and how he spent quiet moments on lunch breaks bowing toward Mecca and praying in a training room in the police station house.
"I pray for understanding," he said, recalling his daily ritual.
Today, there are about 1,500 Muslim officers in the department, said Mr. Nasser, now a detective. Their roots run through the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe. They speak Arabic, Farsi, Pashto and Urdu, among other languages.
Even one Muslim NYPD officer acting as a spy could cause a great deal of harm. The case of Egyptian immigrant Ali Mohamed comes to mind. He was the al-Qaeda operative who served as a sergeant in the US Army Special Forces, where he gained valuable intelligence about American military tactics. He trained terrorists, including some who took part in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He also was a major planner in the 1998 same-day attacks on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed over 200.
The NYPD is known to be the top anti-terrorist police force in America, so it would certainly be a desirable target for intelligence penetration by al Qaeda and similar groups. Hopefully the police goal of increasing diversity has not blinded the PD to this danger.