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Minorities underrepresented

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Vivian Moon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Minorities underrepresented
    Posted: Dec 14 2014 at 11:02am

Posted: 7:00 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014

PUBLIC SAFETY

Minorities underrepresented in local police agencies

By Josh Sweigart

Staff Writer

    Namron Bush’s young, black face stood out among the crowd of white students who were repeating a police officer’s oath on stage.

    Bush, along with 20 others, was about to graduate from a peace officer training academy at Sinclair Community College in Dayton on Tuesday and go on to seek jobs in law enforcement across southwest Ohio.

    Police agencies across the region rarely hire minorities like Bush. The area’s biggest police departments employ dozens of officers but often only a handful are black, Hispanic or Asian-American, and none mirror the diversity of the community they patrol, the Journal-News found.

    After 18 weeks of training, Bush hopes to change those numbers.

    “The more I’ve seen (in the national news), the more I kind of want to make the impact toward getting a positive image of police officers, hopefully, encouraging other black men to even become police officers,” Bush said.

    In an era of growing mistrust between police and black residents because of high-profile incidents involving police who have shot or strangled black men and children, that disparity is coming under closer scrutiny.

    Officers across the region say that they want a diverse workforce that looks like the community but have trouble finding interested and qualified minority applicants who want to join the force.

    “I don’t think there’s any doubt that there continues to be a challenge for law enforcement to recruit minority members,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told this newspaper. “It clearly needs to be dealt with.”

    But others argue police agencies are just not doing enough to recruit minorities.

    “It’s a solvable problem,” said Patrick Oliver, director of the criminal justice program at Cedarville University and a former police chief. Oliver added that police departments need to encourage children at a young age to think about becoming a cop.

    “Agencies need to do something different,” Oliver said. “If you do what you’ve always done before, you’re going to get what you’ve always gotten before.”

‘We make excuses’

    The city of Hamilton — which has a minority population of 16 percent — will consider multiple factors, including race, when it hires at least three new officers next year, Capt. Craig Bucheit told the Journal-News.

    Earlier this week, the city announced a new commission that will study how Hamilton’s city departments can attract and hire more diverse employees at all levels of government. And, the city’s police department submitted an annual recruitment plan that includes having the chief consider disparities between the city’s workforce demographics and the police department’s racial composition when hiring.

    Police officials are also pushing the city to agree to give the agency’s police chief more power to pick from a wider pool of applicants. Currently, he can only make selections based on who scores in the top percentile on entry exams.

    “When the community looks to police officers and they see a reflection of themselves within the police force, I think that goes a long way to building and maintaining trust,” Bucheit said.

    Hamilton’s police force doesn’t look like the rest of the community, though. Of the 105 cops, four black and two Hispanic officers patrol the streets of this city, home to more than 62,000.

    Bucheit said the department has trouble finding minorities who want to become officers. And, in the testing process other qualifications, such as if the officer speaks Spanish or has a bachelor’s degree are more important than race.

    “The biggest challenge to hiring (diverse officers) is making sure we have qualified people in the process from the beginning,” Bucheit said. “The chief can’t hire someone who doesn’t show up and take the test. We can recruit all we want, but if someone doesn’t show up and take the test and put their name in, we can never hire them.”

    Council member Archie Johnson argues the city’s lack of workplace diversity is a systemic failure and officials haven’t tried hard enough to find minorities to fill openings. He wants to see the police department seek out minority residents from across Hamilton to apply for positions.

    “A lot of people say, ‘they don’t apply,’” Johnson said of minorities. “(City officials) are not willing to cross the line to make the difference. It’s easier to blame the applicants than it is to make the effort. We make excuses.”

    Johnson, who has been outspoken about how minorities are treated in Hamilton, fears the city would be ill-equipped to handle an event like the police shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

Race relations in trouble?

    In addition to the Ferguson shooting, protests were sparked locally in August when a police officer shot and killed John Crawford III, a Fairfield man, while he strolled through a Walmart in Beavercreek with an air rifle in hand. Police mistook the item for a real gun.

    Televisions across the country have recently shown videos of a 12-year-old boy at a Cleveland park killed while playing with a toy gun and a man in New York City choked to death.

    All of the victims were black and the officers were white.

The series of events has led some to question relations between cops and the communities they police as well as the small number of black men and women serving those agencies.

    More than half of the blacks surveyed in a Pew Research poll out this week said they anticipate race relations between police and the community will worsen within the next year; 34 percent of whites said the same.

    Even forces praised for their diversity, such as the Cincinnati Police Department where 30 percent of the officers are black, still don’t represent what the community looks like. More than 44 percent of the people living in Cincinnati are black.

    Deep-seated racial homogeneity is more prevalent in police forces across some of southwest Ohio’s suburbs.

    Middletown, West Chester and Fairfield also fail to employ the same percentage of minority police officers that are living in the area.

    Out of the 87 police officers working for West Chester, which has a minority community of 23.6 percent, one is Hispanic and one is black. In Fairfield, where 21 percent of the people identify as minorities, two officers are black and the remaining 55 are white.

    Other areas, such as Liberty Township, are patrolled by the Butler County Sheriff’s Office and roughly six percent of the people working in that office are a minority. The agency was not able to immediately provide a breakdown on race or the positions of those working in their demographics analysis.

‘Make an impact’

    Police in Middletown, where more than 16 percent of the community is a minority, say they know it’s a problem their force doesn’t look like the rest of the population. 65 officers working for the force are white, four are black, one is Middle Eastern, another Japanese and one is Korean.

    But they also don’t know how to fix the problem or why minorities don’t often apply for the positions, Deputy Chief Rodney Muterspaw said.

    “That’s a good question, we’ve asked that question of ourselves,” Muterspaw said. “I don’t really know.”

    Because of budget constraints, he said the department is limited to recruiting candidates that have already gone through a police training academy on their own dime. They often look for recruits at Sinclair or Butler Tech Development Schools.

Racial diversity is slim there, too.

    Since 2012, Butler Tech has graduated 178 students from its 17-week police training academy and 92 percent of those cadets were white.

    He doesn’t have an answer but Muterspaw wonders, though, if some black or Hispanic kids are turned off at an early age from becoming a cop because they see so few that look like them.

    “If you’re a young person growing up in an area of town and you see the officer coming to your house is totally different from you, you might think, ‘I’m not able to do that job,’” Muterspaw said.

    That’s an image Bush, the Sinclair graduate who is now on the hunt for a job as a police officer, hopes to change.

    “I was laying on the couch, I was like, ‘Man, I’m just tired of seeing all of this negative imagery of being a police officer.’ And I thought of how I could make an impact,” he said. “So, simply becoming an officer and creating that positive imagery towards police officers helped me make that decision.”

 

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Vivian Moon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 14 2014 at 11:40am

Here we are having these same discussions again and again.

I am a firm believer that the most qualified person should get the job.....period

Are they going to require that half the police force be female since this is a reflection of the community also?
I don’t think so.

We have had several discussion of this kind over the past 20 years concerning the need for diversity of teachers in the classrooms of our schools. Have they solved this problem yet? I don't think so..

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VietVet View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 14 2014 at 8:45pm
Why does the police force, fire department or any other outfit HAVE to reflect the population breakout of any community? Who made that rule and what was used to substantiate this mandate? Why do we accept this criteria and who made it a rule for staffing in any organization? How about the BEST QUALIFIED NO MATTER WHAT RACE THEY MAY BE? Doesn't get any more fair than that.

If the minorities are not interested in applying for the job, then it goes to those who take the initiative to go through the evaluations. No one is stopping them from applying. I'm with Vivian when she says the jobs should go to the most qualified, not to fill a quota number for minorities.

Watch COPS on any given night. You may see episodes where the police minorities are actually the majority in the half hour show. Blacks and Latinos both dominate the calls on some episodes. Other times, the shows are majority driven So what? How about the Cosby Show or the Jefferson's back in the day? Mostly minorities, right? I didn't hear any complaining from the majority population about an unequal number of show participants. Other shows have followed suit as to casting.

If the minorities can't score high enough on the evaluations, then so be it. Would it be a fair evaluation process if they awarded the job to a low scoring minority over a higher scoring person who is not a minority? Of course not. If that's the case, then it offers absolutely no credibility to the rules of the game in candidate selection.

Why, in today's world, are we going out of our way to ignore the majority segment of our society and we cater to the minority 10 to 20 percent of any given city? Look at what we are viewing on the evening news each night of late. Total attention to people who are using the "squeeky wheel gets the grease" routine with Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson inciting the minority into protest action. Don't see Sharpton or Jackson as dedicated to action when a "majority" officer gets shot by a minority, do you? Why not? I thought they stood for equal justice for everyone and both are titled "Reverend" as if to have a religious presence about them. Kinda looks like a one way street as to their behavior, doesn't it?

Staying on the subject of minorities, have seen stories about the prison population that discusses the overabundance of minorities in prison. Is the issue really targeting minorities and sending them off to prison or is it just a fact that the lack of structure, poor parenting role models, poverty, lifestyle and the crowds these people CHOSE to hang out with actually put them there. They had a choice and chose poorly didn't they? Should we really feel empathy for them as they want you to do? C'mon.

No, IMO, this whole "cater to me because I should be special" thing is getting way out of hand. Stand on your own and go out and get it yourself on your credentials like the majority of us have to do. Live within societies rules and stop leaning on your minority status, using it as leverage to take advantage of any given situation. JMO

I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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Vivian Moon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 14 2014 at 10:16pm

Well said Vet
Now let us talk about the other facts that they don’t talk about on the TV News.
I was in California when the Watts riot occurred. Not one building standing as far as the eye could see. Block after block of businesses gone overnight.
Because these businesses were in high poverty high crime areas their business insurance was sky high and therefore many only had minimum coverage however most had no insurance at all. Most were just small mom and pop community businesses.
When all the smoke and news vans went away no one talked about all the locally owned black business men that had been totally devastated by the riots. They lost everything that had worked for over the years overnight…and these businesses were never rebuilt.

I have no problem with anyone marching on City Hall or Washington DC however to injury someone or destroy a business of someone in your community is not acceptable to me I don’t care how import you think your cause may be.

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Bocephus View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bocephus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 14 2014 at 10:49pm
Liberal paper trying to fan the flames? Last I heard area Police depts. Have been trying to recruit minorities for years and their just far and few between and usually get to choose who pays the most.
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