Making Government Work

Minorities Should Want To Be Police Officers

December 17, 2014
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Minorities Should Want To Be Police Officers
Police stand guard in Ferguson, Miss., Aug. 16, 2014, after violence erupted in the wake of the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer on Aug. 9. Scott Olson/Getty Images
Here's why blacks and Latinos haven't and how every police department can change that.

One of the first facts people noticed after a white police officer killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., was that only three of the 53 cops on the local force were black. That’s nowhere near the city’s racial composition, where two-thirds of residents are African-American.

Though the number of minority cops has grown over the past two decades, this lack of diversity is the norm in hundreds of departments across the country, while the key to recruiting and retaining minority officers remains elusive for most departments. As demands for reform echo across the country, we examined the latest research and contacted experts to find the best methods for hiring police forces that better reflect the neighborhoods they serve.

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