Milwaukee Struggles To Increase Blacks on Police Force

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Milwaukee’s police force that remains overwhelming male and two-thirds white in a city where whites only account for about 36 percent of the population. The police department heavily recruited local candidates last month when it took open officer applications for the first time in two years, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Clearly, we have to be reflective of all the communities we serve,” Police Chief Edward Flynn said. “That’s part of achieving trust and legitimacy.” Overall, 34 percent of the department’s sworn officers and command staff are minorities, a figure that has not changed since 2008.

An analysis of data from 2008 through 2015, the most recent year available, found that black officers accounted for 18 percent of the department’s ranks, while blacks comprised 39 percent of the city’s population. Hispanic officers made up a growing portion of the department, accounting for about 13 percent of the force. That growth mirrors the increase in the Hispanic population of the city, which accounts for about 18 percent of the total population. About 83 percent of officers are men, a figure that hasn’t changed since 2008. Fred Royal, president of the NAACP Milwaukee branch and a founder of the Community Coalition for Quality Policing, said, “I’d like to see it become more in line with the actual representation of minorities in the city. The only way to have an impact on a system is to get involved in the system.”

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