The Hispanic Alliance of Atlantic County asked residents to come to the Atlantic City council meeting on Feb. 20 to support Latino officers as the police department prepares for a round of promotions.
The Alliance says it understands there will be seven promotions to lieutenant this March and not one will be Latino.
The ACPD disputes that the promotions have been finalized. “There has been no final decision on how many promotions will be made, or who will be promoted,” said ACPD spokesman Kevin Fair.
But lawyer Jonathan Diego, a former prosecutor for the city, said in a video post to the Alliance’s Facebook page that he has discussed the issue with the state’s attorney general, with Atlantic County’s chief prosecutor, the chief of police, a commissioner for the Department of Community Affairs and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver. “Unfortunately, my attempts to discuss this issue (of) the need for Latino leadership in the police department have fallen on deaf ears,” he said. “At this point, I have been advised that there are no Latino sergeants being promoted to lieutenant.”
Latinos make up almost one third of Atlantic City’s population, according to the most recent census data. “While there are over 10,000 Hispanics and Latinos living in Atlantic City, there are currently NO Latino officers at command rank within the Atlantic City Police Department (Lieutenant and Above),” the Alliance wrote in a Facebook post. “Unfortunately, this means that our voices and our concerns are NOT being represented when it comes to decision making about our community.” The group names three Latino sergeants that have significant experience they say are being overlooked.
You can read more about the Alliance’s call to action here.