Learning Team A
Throughout the history of the United States, the ranks of police officers have been dominated by white males. As a result, the underrepresentation of minorities and women has long been a problem in policing. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1972 Equal Employment Opportunity Act made discriminating against any individual based upon their color, sex, religion or national origin illegal, thus paving the way for more minorities and women to become police officers. Before the implementation and enforcement of these acts, it was extremely difficult for minorities and women to get a job in policing. Experts in the field of law enforcement maintain that diversity in the workforce is in the best interest of all police departments. “The most useful measure of employment practices is the extent to which a police department reflects the composition of the community it serves” (Walker & Katz, 2011, p. 134). In the 1960’s the extreme underrepresentation of African Americans serving as police officers contributed to the rioting of the era. Due to the concept of affirmative action, which simply states that when a minority group is found to be underrepresented within an organization that organization must take steps to hire more individuals within that minority group, and the use of hiring quotas, African Americans represent a higher number of police officers in today’s society. Hispanic and Latino officers have increased significantly in recent years. Spanish speaking officers are in high demand because of the growing number of communities in which Spanish is the primary language. For many agencies, especially those that serve in communities with large immigrant populations, the need for police diversity extends far beyond traditional groups. With the hiring of Alice Stebbins Wells in 1910, women joined the ranks of police officers (O'Connor, 2012). In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s...
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