The Changing Police Force
Prior to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, police officers were almost universally White and male. The historical segregation of members of the Black community and their distrust of the police were often cited as reasons to limit the number of minority candidates who could even apply. At the same time, women often were excluded using height and strength requirements, which were not eliminated until the mid-1970s. For those few women and minorities who did apply, the selection process was often arduous enough to discourage them from completing the requirements. If selected, they faced similar hurdles in the academy, during initial assignments, and throughout their in-service training. In the past 30 years, however, women and minorities have been hired and retained at unprecedented rates. Police agencies have begun to see the value of diversity within the ranks.
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Review the assigned pages of Chapter 2 of your course text, Policing America: Challenges and Best Practices (pp. 58–60). Pay attention to important changes that have taken place in the hiring, recruitment, and retention of women and minorities in law enforcement.
Review the article “Recruiting & Retaining Women: A Self-Assessment Guide for Law Enforcement.” Consider the advantages of recruiting and retaining female officers.
Review the article “The Evolving Strategy of Police: A Minority View.” Focus on how the historically inequitable treatment of minorities by police agencies was influenced by both societal norms and the laws the police were sworn to uphold. Consider the challenges this history creates for contemporary law enforcement agencies attempting to hire from minority communities.