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John Connolly proposes police pathway program

Mayoral hopeful John R. Connolly held a press conference outside Madison Park High School Wednesday, where he discussed his plans for a “law enforcement career pathway.”

Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff

Mayoral hopeful John R. Connolly held a press conference outside Madison Park High School Wednesday, where he discussed his plans for a “law enforcement career pathway.”

City Councilor John R. Connolly called Wednesday for a career path program for young people to enter law enforcement, an effort that Connolly believes would bolster diversity in the Police Department.

The program, which would be based at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, would encourage high school students with an interest in law enforcement and prepare them to study for a degree in criminal justice.

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Secondly, Connolly would resurrect a version of the police cadet program targeting young adults that fell victim to budget cuts three years ago.

“This pathway would draw talented young people from every corner of the city so that we are identifying and training future police officers who know our communities inside and out,” Connolly said outside Madison Park, in Roxbury.

As mayor, Connolly said, he would make a prioroty of funding both the Madison Park program as well as a revived version of the cadet initiative.

After completing the pathway program, a student would be guaranteed entrance into the cadet program, which provides a pathway to the police academy after two years.

Connolly said that such a program would boost diversity among the Police Department’s rank-and-file, which, combined with a push for more diversity among department brass, would help create a police force that looks more like the city it protects and serves.

“The Boston Police Department should look like the whole city. It should be truly representative of the neighborhoods and communities it serves,” Connolly said.

“Diversity in the police force will help officers build trust in neighborhoods, and trust is essential to effective community policing.”

Wesley Lowery can be reached at wesley.lowery@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @WesleyLowery.
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