State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

State Police nominee would focus on diversity, he says

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Aug 4, 2015 3:39 PM
BlockerTyree_Wolf Administration.jpg

Photo by Wolf administration

The governor's nominee to run the State Police says one of his goals will be workforce diversity.

Major Tyree Blocker said Tuesday that, in addition to community outreach and superb training, the State Police needs "a long-term recruitment and retention program to attract qualified individuals."

If confirmed by the state Senate, Blocker would be the second black commissioner of the State Police. But he said his concerns about recruitment and retention extend beyond minority and female troopers.

"I look at this across the board," said Blocker. "But we will certainly need to focus on having a diverse workforce."

The State Police has been criticized for being slow to hire and promote minority troopers. From 1974 to 1999, the agency was under a federal consent decree to increase its percentage of minority troopers. In the mid-2000s, a wave of retirements caused minority numbers to drop again.

Blocker said he'll make "open and honest dialogue with communities" a top priority if he is confirmed as commissioner.

"We need to ensure that troopers are superiorly trained, possess exceptional interpersonal skills, and be in a position to use enhanced technology in their day-to-day activities," said Blocker.

The Pennsylvania State Troopers Association congratulated Blocker on his nomination, but declined further comment when asked whether Blocker would be able to gain the support of the union. The PSTA became a vocal critic of the governor's first nominee for commissioner, Col. Marcus Brown, asking the governor to withdraw Brown's name for consideration.

Published in State House Sound Bites

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