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County police take academy tests on the road

(St. Louis County Police)

For the first time in its 55 years, the St. Louis County police department is taking part of its recruitment process on the road.

Anyone who wants to enter the county's police academy has to pass a written test and a physical evaluation, as well as meet certain other criteria. Those tests are usually offered only at the academy building in Wellston, but this weekend, they'll both be offered at a neutral site.

"It brings everybody out of their shell," said Kevin Minor, the county's recruitment officer. "It's a meeting point. It makes it look like the process is more approachable and more attainable." 

The testing sessions are Friday night at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m., both at the Hazelwood East middle school. Minor said the department will be taking notes about what went right and wrong and hopes to hold similar events two or three times a year in the future throughout the county.

"You know, like the Bosnian community down south, or central county, where we have a large Spanish-speaking population," Minor said.

Minor said the events this weekend are not targeted specifically at the African-American community, but minority recruitment is a major concern for the department. The county is 24 percent black, but just 10 percent of the police force is African-American, up from six percent nine years ago.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.