Originally published as "Reimagining Police Recruiting: Seven Strategies for Diversifying the Police in Tumultuous Times," 3 Streams, February 4, 2021.
Police departments across the nation are searching for ways to increase their ranks with qualified and diverse applicants. Current challenges seem insurmountable, and police-minority relations are at an all-time low. The killing of unarmed Black civilians, followed by weeks of protests around the country by Black Lives Matter groups were met with counter protests from All Lives Matter groups. Add to that the recent Capitol Hill insurrection, which contained supporters of law enforcement and even some active-duty officers, and it’s no surprise that trust is strained.
This poses significant challenges to recruiting, as more groups with ties to right-wing ideologies infiltrate the police and minority applicants wonder where they fit in. These are challenges not traditionally considered in police recruiting, and the solutions require us to fundamentally reconsider the recruiting tactics we have used for decades.