Diversity Is Important to the FBI

by Diego Barcacel Peña (read the original article posted on thisistheBronX.info)

January 21, 2018

Note: Due to security concerns, thisistheBronX was not permitted to take any photographs during the FBI recruitment session.

Metropolitan College (MCNY) held its first-ever FBI info and recruitment session at its South Bronx campus on Friday, January 19. It was an attempt to change the minds of those in the Bronx who previously didn’t consider themselves qualified for the bureau and for their part, the FBI personnel were seeking a more diverse organization.

A panel of thirteen FBI employees including health services and special agents, all donning badges and other FBI credentials, introduced themselves and described a day in the FBI.  While they each came from different walks of life, in fact, many of them were products of the CUNY system, which helped foster greater communication.

Joshua Perez, the college’s campus director, organized the event after having met with FBI officials who told him of the need to diversify the bureau.

“Common things you may hear in the community is ‘I can’t do that job,’ ‘it’s not for me,’ or ‘they don’t hire us’ and that’s not true,” said Perez, “so this event is a wonderful idea and a good initiative.”

During the info session, the importance of diversifying law enforcement was stressed many times.  Predictably, the FBI employees were excited to see students of different ethnicities and backgrounds. They indicated that though today’s FBI is extremely different than in the past, diversity is still lacking. Considering the range of student backgrounds, they urged MCNY students to consider the FBI as a career.

Putting employment considerations aside, both the FBI and Perez agreed that info sessions like these will ultimately help improve strained relations between law enforcement and urban communities.  This came up repeatedly in the panel discussion and certainly if more community members were employed by the FBI that could begin to cool things down.

“It may be because we’ve never seen someone like us work for the FBI before,” said Perez. “Once you see someone in your community you’ll say ‘hey this guy looks like me,’ or ‘hey he lived a few blocks from me.’”

Kendra Vance, an alumna of MCNY, was intrigued by what the Special Agents had to say, but ultimately decided that it wouldn’t be the right field for her given the physical demands of the job.  But she did find a potential FBI position in cybercrime to be interesting.

“I would probably apply for the ones that deal with computers and cyber activity because I have two children and cyberbullying is a major issue,” she said.  “So if I can find a way to stop that or help combat it, I would definitely sign up.”

On the other hand, Anais Caba, a current MCNY student, was confident that she could pass the physical exam and handle the daily assignments of a Special Agent.

“I would try for Special Agent,” said Caba, who was also interested in being a translator. “Or maybe working with language, specifically Spanish and all the dialects of the language.”

This may be a first for the college and a first for the South Bronx, but Perez hopes that this won’t be a one-time event. He hopes to hold more info sessions in the future and fill up the FBI with MCNY graduates.

“I envision every year at some point people in the community are saying ‘hey when is this recruitment event happening?’” said Perez, “and MCNY will be at the center of it.”

2018-01-23T11:28:41+00:00