The racial disparity between the citizenry and police department in Ferguson, Mo., is common among other communities in St. Louis County with significant black populations, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Ferguson is two-thirds black, but just 7 percent of the city's commissioned police officers are black.
In all but one of 31 communities surveyed by the paper, the percentage of black residents is higher than the proportion of black officers. While areas patrolled by St. Louis County Police are about 25 percent black, 10 percent of the county police force is black. In many communities, the racial gap is much more pronounced. Police chiefs cite various reasons, including a lack of minority applicants and a trend in which black officers frequently leave for jobs at bigger, better-paying departments.