Achieving Diversity in Police Ranks No Easy Task

Allen G. Breed, MSN, September 14, 2014

When he took over as police chief last year in the St. Louis suburb of Maryland Heights, it didn’t take Bill Carson long to see he had a serious diversity problem. Of the department’s 79 sworn officers, just one was black and one Hispanic.

Carson quickly issued a plan that included advertising in the local black newspaper, outreach to groups like the NAACP and participation in job fairs at area colleges with large minority student bodies.

Of 81 applicants in his first hiring round, only four were black or Hispanic–and the only one qualified chose to stay with the department where he was already working.

“I think the community feels better about their police department if the police department maybe reflects the makeup of the community,” says Carson, whose city is 10 percent black and 8 percent Hispanic. “But that’s easier said than done.”

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Experts say many departments limit their searches too close to home, often don’t recruit in the right places and set criteria that can disproportionately exclude groups they hope to attract. And across the U.S., police are not just struggling to attract blacks and Hispanics, but members of immigrant groups where distrust and fear of authority run deep.

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Ferguson Chief Tom Jackson says a few black officers left in recent years for higher-paying jobs, and that the city has tried to recruit more. {snip}

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Part of the problem is policing “has never been made attractive for people of color,” says Malik Aziz, chairman and executive director of the National Black Police Association.

“When I got into the police department, I went to neighborhoods I had grown up in,” says Aziz, a deputy police chief in Dallas. “When people saw me, even people in my own family had very negative views of the police. I had to change this attitude.”

That’s why departments have to work even harder to entice qualified minorities, says Terrence Green, who was the only black officer when he became police chief in Lexington, South Carolina, eight years ago. African-Americans now comprise about 14 percent of the 50-person force–slightly higher than their representation in the city’s population.

“You’ve got to go out and fish for those people,” says Green, who found little interest among students in historically black colleges or schools that offered criminal justice degrees.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg police department in North Carolina has stepped up its minority recruitment in recent years, reaching out as far as Puerto Rico. Three officers there were hired and a fourth will begin in October, says Capt. Stella Patterson, the department’s recruitment director.

Since 2012, the department has hired 25 Hispanic officers, including 10 women. It also offers a 5 percent pay increase to officers who speak Spanish, Laotian or Vietnamese. And it has tried to attract more black candidates, sending recruiters to historically black colleges.

Many communities go to great lengths to serve immigrant minorities.

In Minneapolis, the police department has about a half-dozen east African officers to work with the city’s large Somali community.

“They are among our best recruiting tools,” says spokesman John Elder. “These are people respected in the community.”

Over in St. Paul, Sgt. Paul Paulos says the department recently held its first East African Police Academy, with special programs for the kids, such staging mock investigations and taking fingerprints.

“I think it’s very important to start at a young age . . . It’s a long-term recruitment,” Paulos says.

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  • Ed

    Baltimore went to Puerto Rico to diversify their police force. The new cops from Puerto Rico started a towing kickback scheme.

    • TruthBeTold

      We had one of those in Buffalo. It was black cops.

    • bilderbuster

      Miami did that with Cuban cops.
      They got homicidal home invaders, hit men working for drug kingpins and police guards for unloading cargo with police escorts to their destinations.

  • MekongDelta69

    Stopping crime? Nah, we don’t care.

    DIE-versity? Now, that’s when we care.

    • APaige

      Yes Sir. Consider the sentence: “Experts say many departments limit their searches too close to home, often don’t recruit in the right places and set criteria that can disproportionately exclude groups they hope to attract.”
      It is much better to have an officer from the community, (‘too close to home’) recruit from colleges (right place) and have basic requirements. (criteria that excludes)
      According to the article it would be better to have an officer from far away, un-trained, with a criminal record.

      • bilderbuster

        Those rassiss felony background checks gots to go!

    • TruthBeTold

      You don’t get it. A diverse police force means there won’t be any crime.

      Blacks and minorities only ‘act up’ because they feel left out.

  • This article does tell the truth about why smaller suburban police departments hardly have any blacks even if their city population is mostly black: It’s because those departments are low pay and high danger, and prospective black cops can pretty much pick their department, because of affirmative action. Would you want to work in a low pay high danger department like Ferguson or a not much better middling danger department like Maryland Heights when you can work in high pay low danger really plum job departments like Ladue or Chesterfield?

    • The Worlds Scapegoat

      Plus day be mo whites woman in da richer hoods.

      .

    • Headwinds of Reality

      I would imagine a lot of the white cops wish they could be somewhere else as well, maybe it’s time the white cops put their hands up and said “I agree, I am not representative of these people, how about transferring some black cops over here (and us white cops out) so that these people of color can be better represented by their own kind”

      Oh wait, it doesn’t work that way does it? I bet any white cop that objects to having to police black neighborhoods would be denounced as a racist.

  • dd121

    Could he find one who didn’t have a prior drug conviction?

    • SentryattheGate

      Good point! Only 25% of American youth qualify for the military; either they’ve got criminal backgrounds, physically or mentally unfit, or can’t pass the required written tests! And when you break down those statistics, what percentage is minority—pretty small, no doubt!

      • dd121

        One of the stated goals of the Obamaunists is to get more black military “leaders”. That obviously means lowering the standards.

  • Samuel_Morton

    “Ferguson Chief Tom Jackson says a few black officers left in recent years for higher-paying jobs, and that the city has tried to recruit more.”

    Ah, the eternal dilemma: the blacks who are smart enough to be police officers are quickly absorbed by other, higher-paying organizations through the effects of affirmative action. Every company desperately wants lots of smart, nonviolent blacks in their employ so that they don’t get the shakedown by civil rights organizations. Even if they’re not smart enough to be an engineer, why not hire a few moderately intelligent, polite ones to make jokes at the printer and gossip all day, adding the ever-so important element of diversity.

  • LHathaway

    Amnesty for criminals? At least they are American criminals. And if they are Americans of color, they are a group discriminated against/less hired than other people of color, who were born in another country. People of color not even born in this country have discriminated against them. There’s no other explanation for disparate hiring. Amnesty for criminals should make police hiring that much easier and ease tight city budgets. Wonder how low a wage they could pay?

  • libertarian1234

    “Achieving Diversity in Police Ranks No Easy Task”

    If it is necessary for a particular ethnic or racial group to have people of their own tribe represented in various professions, then they’re admitting that they can’t trust anybody outside their race or ethnicity to administer to them.

    What the elitist weenies and the non-white hordes are admitting is that multiculturalism is a dismal failure and diversity is a definite weakness.

    There is no better example of the failure of multiculturalism than that.

    • SentryattheGate

      Well said! After all, the great “hero” MLK encouraged us to judge people by their character, not by skin color.

      • bilderbuster

        So some jive talkin’ Black preacher who gets the old Black women hollerin’ and rolling in the aisles with his sermons about racial integration, claims he has a silly dream, and it becomes government policy for the next 50 years no matter how incredibly stupid it is?

    • TruthBeTold

      “I think the community feels better about their police department if the police department maybe reflects the makeup of the community,”

      Two points:

      I feel better in a white community where the police represent me.

      In a racially mixed community, how can the police represent everyone all the time? A mixed race community will require many different cops of different races. It’s going to be rare for the right cop to be involved in with the right race of individuals. A mixed race police force as a solution to racial issues is an impossible fantasy.

  • B.E.L.

    Wait a second, I thought diversity was our greatest strength? If it’s so great then why do people of color have to have police officers that are the same race?

    • Max

      They can’t relate to them, don’t you know?

      I don’t either but since I don’t engage in criminal activities, it is of little consequence how well I “relate”.

    • bilderbuster

      For the same reason they had to integrate the schools so then they could blame their failures because they don’t have Black teachers or something like that?

  • 1stworlder

    Don’t forget St Louis had to ignore felonies to hire a black police chief only to have him get busted in an evidence stealing sting.

    • bilderbuster

      Another one of those “isolated incidents”.

  • Conspiracy theorist/realist here. There’s a concerted effort to make police work unattractive to whites, especially white males. Think Darren Wilson’s persecution, for example.

    Like boxing, which used to be a white sport, in 20 years most cops will be nonwhite, probably Mexicans, who as a race love to act big and throw their weight around.

    Black cops love to just goof off with a woman or some drugs somewhere while on duty, but Mexicans are bullies. They’ll make good enforcers for the New World Order globalists.

    • Alexandra1973

      And they won’t hesitate to shoot at White Americans.

      • model1911

        And we won’t hesitate to shoot back.

  • TruthBeTold

    “I think the community feels better about their police department if the
    police department maybe reflects the makeup of the community,”

    Two points:

    I feel better in a white community where the police represent me.

    In a racially mixed community, how can the police represent everyone all the time? A mixed race community will require many different cops of different races. It’s going to be rare for the right cop to be involved in with the right race of individuals. A mixed race police force as a solution to racial issues is an impossible fantasy.

    • MikeofAges

      The people who could qualify are pursuing other career. Many are in the military. Some are in corrections. Many are in other government jobs. Some in middle management in the private sector. Of course, if the recruiting of minorities was directed at these people, we would accused of playing a shell game.

  • relanorma

    Let those diverse districts have their diverse taskforce. Nothing shatters the delusion of diversity > competence like a direct in-your-face demonstration.

  • Leon NJ

    Oh great, so when my house is on fire, I’ll be looking forward to seeing the fire truck coming up my street with an all female brigade wearing hijabs.

    But will they pack up their gear and leave if I tell them it’s a grease fire while I attempted to cook bacon???

  • IKUredux

    On the other hand, if we didn’t allow into this country all these ragtag dregs of humanity…Meanwhile, by all means, let us reduce the requirements to be a cop, a fireman, a whatever. Who cares if they are competent? Please, keep in mind the slogan of America:”Diversity is our strength, we used to think it was our military, we were wrong”.

  • texasoysterman

    “it offers a 5% pay increase to officers who speak spanish, laotion or vietnamese.”
    Maybe they should offer a pay incentive to the negro officers who speak a language other than ebonics.

  • JohnEngelman

    There is a great deal of competition for blacks who are marginally qualified.

  • AmericanCitizen

    It will be easier to get Police Officers to shoot at white middle class Americans who stand up for themselves if the Police are black, hispanic, under qualified, getting paid a salary they would never get elsewhere – lots of incentive to follow orders to protect that pension and benefits!

    We’ve seen the pieces slowly coming together for the Lib/Prog vision of America’s future. That future bodes poorly for traditional white middle class Americans.

  • Man of the West

    Every diversity success can be correlated with a corresponding drop in standards and quality. We have female firemen who can’t carry an unconscious man. Cops who are little better than the criminals they ostensibly pursue. Ignorant, barely literate “students” whose pigmentation allows them to displace more deserving students. Diversity insures the weakest, less able, rise to the top. And our culture pays the price. They will, eventually, drag us down to their level. Our strength is in our diversity! Oh, and I love Big Brother too.

  • Christorchaos

    “Ferguson Chief Tom Jackson says a few black officers left in recent years for higher-paying jobs, and that the city has tried to recruit more. ”

    I think the college professors call this phenomenon “High-Paying Job Racism”