New U.S. Guidance Issued on Diversifying Law Enforcement

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The federal government yesterday issued guidance to national security agencies and local police departments on how they can diversify their ranks as part of a significant new effort to ease racial tensions, the Washington Post reports. The Justice Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a report outlining how police can recruit and retain officers from different backgrounds, as President Obama issued an executive order instructing national security agencies to do the same.

Officials said those fields, which have traditionally been dominated by white men, need to adopt creative tactics to attract women and minorities. They might even rethink such commonplace requirements as criminal background checks and physical fitness tests. “I think it’s just a more critical examination of what is most important to the job, what minimum qualifications do we need, and to design the tests to ensure that they are not screening out people who could otherwise be very successful at the job,” said Jenny R. Yang, chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The report and executive order come out as the shooting of black men, sometimes unarmed, by police officers has led to significant unrest.

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