Race and Ethnicity in Law Enforcement Hiring

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Race and Ethnicity in Law Enforcement Hiring
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Race and ethnicity play a significant role in law enforcement. This is true in both how communities are policed, as well as what the racial and ethnic make up is of a law enforcement entity. On the application at the police department I work for, there is verbiage that says, “Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.” Why is this present? It may be that the department really does want women and minorities to apply, (I believe this is the case) but the reason the phrase is on the application, is primarily because of federal law, specifically Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Law enforcement has traditionally had an over representation of both Caucasian male applicants. Due to this dichotomy, the E.E.O.C. who enforces Title VII recommends employers place verbiage in their application process that specifically encourages under represented groups to apply for job openings. I think it’s both healthy and smart for a police force to be made up of personnel that have similarities to the community it serves. Not only does it bring different perspectives to the force, it also has at least the potential to bring greater respect and credibility to the department’s actions within that community. There are likely law enforcement agencies in this county who have the same phrase in their application solely because it mitigates the chances of their hiring practices being challenged in court under Title VII. These agencies may not have any allegiance to the principal or goal of the statement; nor have any real intentions to hire those applicants. In many departments the standardization of hiring processes seeks to prevent personal biases and favoritism. However, these standardized processes and tests have also drawn criticism, with some claiming a disparate impact being present often either in the construction of the test or variances in the minimum qualifications.” Disparate impact is 2...
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