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Charlotte Police Test 200 Potential Officers In Puerto Rico

A few Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers flew back Friday afternoon from a four-day recruiting trip to Puerto Rico. They're looking to add officers from there to help the department better serve the growing Hispanic population in Mecklenburg County. "In order for us to actually be actively engaged in crime issues and problems in our community, we have to have a cultural bridge between the department and ourselves," said Gerald Smith, CMPD recruiting director. "The best way to do that is to seek out qualified Hispanics to compete in our hiring process, and Puerto Rico seems to be a good fit for that," he said. Smith said about 200 Puerto Ricans applied for a job with Charlotte police during the trip. Recruiters tested them on their short-term memory, reading comprehension, writing ability and personality. "Of those who did test, they are very, very impressive candidates," Smith said. "Many with degrees, many with a wide variety of experience and life experiences, and a great deal of interest also from our men and women in military who are in Puerto Rico right now." There are currently 20 job openings at CMPD. Smith said he's not sure how many will be filled by Puerto Ricans. He said they're in the same pool as all the other candidates. The hiring process will take between a year and 18 months.