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A Hummel Report Investigation

Never Too Old?

A 53-year-old state representative was selected by the city of Pawtucket to begin the six-month Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy this week - raising the issue of whether age should be a factor in joining the police force, as it is in some departments in Rhode Island. This week Jim Hummel finds out that the recruit withdrew two days before the academy - saying he didn’t want to be a distraction.

Click here to see a copy of Representative Barros' resignation letter.

SCRIPT

Jean Phillipe Barros is in his second term as a state representative, after serving three terms on the Pawtucket City Council and three years on the city’s Juvenile Hearing Board.
This week Barros planned to take the first step toward adding another title to his lengthy resume: police officer.
Starting the municipal training academy at the age…of 53.
Pawtucket Public Safety Director Antonio Pires tells The Hummel Report that Barros, who is Cape Verdean, was chosen from an initial applicant pool of 700; 80 of those got an interview and a final pool of 50 was chosen to go to the state’s Municipal Police Training Academy in Lincoln, staggered over several classes - usually in pools of four or five recruits.
Pires: ``We don’t have age limitations, most departments don’t. I think State Police has, I know Warwick has…we’ve talked about that internally. The thinking was, listen if someone is qualified they have to go through a fitness (test), pass a fitness, whether it be police or fire, they have to pass a fitness. If they are able to pass the written test and if they are able to pass backgrounds and psychologicals we’re not going to exclude them.’’
Barros was selected to begin the academy’s 129th class on Monday. He declined our request for an on camera interview, but did speak with us by phone Monday evening about why he wanted to become a police officer.
Barros: ``In my way of think, certainly you know, it was certainly a way of continuing my public service and also to be like a role model to some of the younger men and women of color, who may at some point potentially consider joining the police force as a career.’’
And, why he believed the issue of his age, was a non-issue.
Barros: ``I mean I never really thought my age would be an issue. Never really give it…I gave it two thoughts, other than when the people in the process, in the know, started questioning my motives, my age.’’

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