To attract more Asian-Pacific Americans to the police force, especially those who are bilingual, the Los Angeles Police Department is holding a career seminar Saturday at the Police Academy in Elysian Park.
Only 5.2% of the officers in the department are Asian Americans or Pacific Islander, barely half as much as the overall population, said Officer John Wong, one of the conference organizers.
The department's goal is to raise that number to at least 7%, Wong said.
Wong, a first-generation Chinese American who is one of 13 officers in the department who can speak Cantonese, said he is often called in on cases that involve Asian Americans and believes the LAPD could use more bilingual officers.
One of the obstacles recruiters face is convincing parents of prospective officers that law enforcement is a good career. There is strong social pressure among Asian Americans to encourage their children to go into medicine or science, Wong said. "We have to gain acceptance of the parents, not only the recruits."
At Saturday's conference, potential candidates will hear Asian-Pacific American officers speak about their experiences in the LAPD, learn about the hiring process and take a tour of the Police Academy.
After the conference, candidates are invited to take the 2 1/2-hour written exam that will be scored immediately.
The career seminar will start at 9 a.m. at the Police Academy, 1880 N. Academy Drive.
Information: (213) 847-LAPD or (800) 421-9555.