Diversity in Law Enforcement

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Diversity in Law Enforcement


Gordon Graham
Category: Law Enforcement

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for my friends in law enforcement. You know folks, our law enforcement teams should reflect the communities we serve. Ideally, this reflection should apply at all levels and across job categories.  

In a perfect world, appropriate representation among the ranks illustrates your agency’s commitment to diversity

A lot of demographic data is available on the U.S. Census Bureau website. Suppose you pull the data for your city or county and find that your population is 47% white, 18% African American, and 35% Asian. Suppose the male population is roughly 48% and the female 52%.   

Compare those percentages to your agency. Do your current employee demographics mirror the census numbers? Now compare the data to both sworn and non-sworn employees and to your command staff.  

And don’t forget about gender demographics. Preferably, your agency and all job categories should reflect something near the ratios of males to females in your jurisdiction.  

It’s not uncommon to find out that overall agency demographics are close to those of the jurisdiction. However, individual job categories often miss that mark.  

This can be an opportunity. Suppose your sworn employees lack appropriate numbers of minority employees. In a perfect world, appropriate representation among the ranks illustrates your agency’s commitment to diversity. It might also make it easier for members of the community to connect with people they can directly relate to.  

We need to attract recruits who help balance agency demographics. This may require targeted marketing to all genders, races and ethnicities found in the community. Develop strong explorer or cadet programs. Recruit college athletes and veterans. Offer incentives to current employees who refer others to the agency. College career fairs are another way to connect with large, diverse groups of people. Above all, try to make sure your agency reflects the communities you serve. This goes a long way in building trust. 

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Until next time, Gordon Graham signing off. 

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