The Pennsylvania State Police has fewer black and Latino officers than at any time in the last decade, a result of years of lagging recruitment and a wave of retirements, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The percentage of minorities began dropping about the time a federal judge ended oversight of the agency’s hiring practices in early 1999, and has continued dropping year after year, an Inquirer review shows. State police ranks have expanded, but almost entirely with white hires. During the last decade, the number of African American troopers declined by 42 percent. The agency has just 228 black officers, only 5 percent of the force. African Americans are 10 percent of Pennsylvania’s overall population.
State Police Commander Jeffrey Miller said his department was committed to reversing the trend with aggressive recruiting of black and Latino officers. “Our numbers look as bad as they possibly could look,” he acknowledged. Across the U.S., 24 percent of police were minorities in 2003, up from 15 percent in 1987, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reported. Missippippi and Alabama have state police agencies that are far more reflective of their populations. In Alabama, 26 percent of the population and 26 percent of the state police are black.