Thursday, September 4, 2014
Easier said than done
I just saw on TV that the US Justice Department is set to launch an investigation of the Ferguson, MO Police Department. It was pointed out that, "shockingly", the police department was only 6% African American while the population of Ferguson was 67% African American.
I know nothing about the Ferguson Police Department and their staffing policies, but I can tell you that recruiting for police officers is like pulling teeth. As I've mentioned before, I was on my city's Civil Service Commission for 18 years, overseeing our police and fire department hiring, firing, discipline, promotion, etc. They, particularly the police department, regularly sent recruiting teams to job fairs all over the state...out of state, even...trying to entice minority applicants to come join us. It was a tough sell.
To make matters even more difficult, as a Civil Service Rule city our applicants had to take a standardized test, prepared by a 3rd party out-of-state company who specialized in civil service exams. (Their tests had previously been scrutinized, and even court challenged in other jurisdictions, and were found to be race / gender / orientation neutral.)
We could and did award a few extra points to honorably discharged military veterans, but by law, we were then required to take the highest scoring applicants, period. Police recruiting isn't just putting a "Now Hiring" sign in the window.
As I said I have no idea how the Ferguson Police run their department, and they might be crooked as a barrel of snakes for all I know, but be careful when you hear those statistics about a particular department being shy of this or that minority representation. Often times, hard as they try, it's out of their hands.
Just thought you should know.