State police officials are beating their chests over the number of diverse applicants to the state patrol, reporting that, according to this,

the latest pool of applicants to the State Police is the most diverse ever.

Which is all well and good!

But once again, we’re left with the question are we hiring the best of the best?

Or are we hiring greater numbers of minorities just to satisfy certain interest groups?

But it will take at least another year to determine if the long selection process actually produces more black troopers than the previous recruiting effort.

More than 12,000 men and women submitted online applications in May for two classes to be held next year, the State Police said. About 8,500 met initial qualifications and moved on to a physical fitness test, the second of several steps before recruits are chosen.

Of these applicants, the State Police said, 19 percent are Hispanic, 15 percent are black and 14 percent are female. At the same point during the last selection round in 2010, 15 percent of the applicants were Hispanic, 11 percent were black and 9 percent were female.

The State Police and Attorney General’s Office faced sharp criticism last year when only five black recruits were invited to train among a class of 123, and two remained when the class graduated 85 new troopers.

The president of the New Jersey chapter of the NAACP, James Harris, said that while he is encouraged by (Attorney General Jeff) Chiesa’s leadership and the more robust applicant pool, none of it will matter if the State Police does not graduate significant numbers of black troopers next year.

So, in other words, what you’re saying is make sure (by any means necessary?) that a significant number of minorities graduate in the next class or all with be for naught.

Should this be the standard by which we hire members of the State Patrol by their race or ethnic background?

Do you feel the diversity of the State Patrol should be a determining factor in who gets hired?