Governing magazine has published an analysis that shows minority groups are underrpresented in nearly all larger local law enforcement agencies, including Little Rock.
The report covered 269 jurisdictions with at least 100,000 residents. In all, minorities were underrepresented by 24 percentage points in comparing employment with Census data.
Recent police shootings have spurred calls for more police diversity. Defenders of police (as with defenders of data I published here yesterday about disproportionate school punishment of minorities) say the problem is a supposed greater law-breaking propensity of minorities.
Disparities were greatest for Latinos, the report said.
And here is individual department data.
Little Rock’s overrepresentation of white officers has another dimension we’ve written about before — the underrpresentation of city residents on the police force, particularly among the white officers. It has long given rise to a suspicion — justified or not — that the racial makeup of the city has contributed to decisions by white police officers to live elsewhere. Black students are disproportionately arrested by “school resource officers,” City Manager Bruce Moore has observed.
We reported in June that of 160 black LRPD officers, 99, or 62 percent, live in the city. Of the 354 white officers, only 75, or 21 percent, live in the city.