Police and fire departments in the U.S. remain overwhelmingly male and white, new census numbers show. The Washington Post reports that minorities have made strides in both fields, helped by lawsuits and a recent push for recruitment of Spanish-speaking police officers. Women held steady at 13 percent of officers in 2000.
Minorities account for one in four officers, a share nearly equal to their representation in the workforce. The biggest gains were among Hispanics, who account for one in 11 police officers. “Every department in the country is attempting to hire more Hispanics, especially bilingual Hispanics, because of the true need,” said Chuck Canterbury, president of the national Fraternal Order of Police. “But what we are finding a lot of times are second- and third-generation Hispanics who speak no Spanish.”