A wide range of the population seems to believe that the police force is largely unbalanced and requires recruiting more minorities. However, there have always been challenges to making this happen. We take a look at what seems to be the main problem or issue in bridging this gap that has stagnated over several years. Why are there so few minorities in the law enforcement agencies?
Representation in the population
Most people could argue that the proportion of minorities in police forces are equal or even exceed the proportion of those groups in the population. For example, the proportion of blacks in the country is about 14% while their representation in the police force is about 18%. From an equality point of view, it could be argued that the 18% of blacks in the police force far exceeds the proportion of blacks in the country and is thus more than fair. We cannot say whether or not this is a consideration that the hiring departments consider but perhaps, just perhaps this is one of the reasons.
Fear of racial profiling and other stereotypes
There is always a fear that if a person from a minority group is recruited into a police department composed largely of whites; they are going to be racist. On the other hand, if the same person were to be recruited into a pre-dominantly black police force, they would be crooked. These are views and perceptions that have been propagated to a great extent by the mainstream media. Such simple reasons could be keeping potential cops from minority groups from joining the police departments.
Inadequate educational backgrounds
It has been said that some requirements to join police departments in some cities are directly related to the level and quality of education that one received. While it may not have been designed to alienate minority groups, other dynamics within the requirements do exactly that. The financial status of most minority groups is way below that of whites. What this means is that most of these people from minority groups do not afford the top notch quality education accorded to the better endowed in society. This then goes on to cost these minority groups especially in terms of job openings in various places, companies and departments. Requirements such as minimum IQ levels could be locking out some people from potential positions in police departments.
Unlike earlier years, most minority groups now have access to more opportunities than they used to. This means that if they have even minor reservations regarding taking up jobs in the police department, they will hesitate to do so simply because there are now more options out there. In earlier days, despite the lesser openings for minorities in the police departments, a chance at one would have been taken more quickly than it would today for the simple reason that there were very few options available. Despite all these challenges however, most police departments in various cities are still intensifying efforts to include more minority group members into their workforce.