Associate Magazine FBINAA Q2-2023


TAMECA WEST, NA Session 282

Many people have heard the saying, “The community is the police, and the police is the community.” There is no secret that there is vast disparity in law enforcement in relation to minority representation. The last two years have magnified the glowing inequity. For hundreds of years in this country specific groups could never even think to apply for a career in law enforcement. T herefore, those groups are hundreds of years behind the majority group and must play catch up. Of course, everyone should meet the same qualifications as traditionally required. However, if those qualifications and standards make it difficult for whole groups of people to compete maybe those standards will be reevaluated and considerations should be inclusive of all. A quick survey of any police department will reveal an aver age of 5 to 10 percent minority members within their ranks and even less in higher command. In 2023, we need to stop talking and start taking action. These unprecedented times have also made our recruiting efforts more difficult. However, we cannot use this as a way out of intentional recruiting of the unrepresented in our depart ments. Law enforcement leaders owe it to their members and communities to actively solicit those reluctant to enter this profession. I have spoken to many recruits who would love careers in law enforcement, yet never thought it possible with my agency. Instead, they opt to seek employment in the areas of

probation, juvenile justice, and corrections. These professional practitioners make a positive difference in the lives of those in need. But by the time the citizen encounters them it is too late. We need officers on the front lines at the initial call for service. Recruitment of underrepresented classes must be strategic and intentional. We cannot afford to sit back and wait for appli cants to come to us. If we do, we will employ from the same pool from which we have always employed. Police work is tradition ally planned and methodical. We must practice this method in recruiting as well. As leaders of departments and agencies we must create a welcome and fair atmosphere. Once the culture of the agency is defined specific staff members will be selected as recruiters. Ideally, the recruiters will mirror those who they are trying to recruit. This does not mean calling upon the only minority to recruit. Sometimes that is all agencies have which is revealing as well. No one wants to be the token trotted out when the cameras are rolling. I do not suggest that only minorities can recruit other minorities. There are certainly people within the agency from all races and backgrounds who are capable of recruiting those who do not look like them. However, I would suggest whomever you select for the team, that those folks have a shared interest and desire to recruit the best qualified candidates who happen to be minorities. Specific locations, institutions, events, and organizations are fertile ground for recruitment. Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) graduate hundreds of students each year who would be ideal candidates for the job. Contrary to what the name implies, these colleges are attended by all races. In addi tion, the world must understand the only reason these colleges exist is because Black people were prohibited from attending any other colleges and were forced to create their own. It was never a matter of segregation on their behalf. This may take a bit of effort on the part of your departments because not every city or state has HBCUs so employees may have to plan travel to attend the college job fair or recruitment seminars.

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12 FBINAA.ORG | Q2 2023

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