Ferguson, Mo., is attracting a large pool of applicants to police jobs, including minorities seeking the job left vacant by the resignation of Darren Wilson, the officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, Mayor James Knowles III tells the Associated Press. Knowles believes city leaders have made it clear they are seeking minority officers to build a more diverse police force in the St. Louis suburb that endured months of unrest after Brown’s death last summer. “Considering the number of people interested right now, I’m sure we’ll find outstanding applicants to be new officers here in Ferguson,” Knowles said.
About 1,000 people applied for a vacant dispatcher’s job, and 50 to 60 people applied for two vacant patrol officer jobs, one of which was created by Wilson’s resignation in November. Two additional openings are expected soon from pending retirements. The mayor said city and police leaders were making a concerted effort to attract more minority candidates long before Brown was killed, and they have redoubled those efforts in the six months since then, reaching out to predominantly black colleges, for example. It isn’t easy. The mayor noted that one neighboring town with a largely African-American population recently lost all of its black officers to higher-paying police jobs.