I recently discussed “economic apartheid” in Phildadelphia and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s “diversity” hiring that “overrepresented” some groups and “underrepresented” others. Now comes, thanks to reader Hube, more hiring “representation” malarkey from Pennsylvania.
Mark Faziollah, Philadelphia Inquirer staff writer, writes with evident alarm that “Pa. Troopers Ranks Getting Less Diverse.” Blacks, who make up 10% of Pennsylvania’s population, are now down to 5% of the state police. Horrors.
The article presents no evidence, or even forthright accusations, that the state police has been discriminatory in its hiring practices. On the contrary,
State Police Commander Jeffrey Miller said his department was committed to reversing the trend with aggressive recruiting of black and Latino officers.
“Our numbers look as bad as they possibly could look,” Miller acknowledged….
Miller, who took over the agency in January 2003, said he was committed to diversity, but said he had been unable to recruit enough minorities to compensate for large numbers of retirements.
“I have prioritized the recruitment of minorities,” he said in an interview last week. “Everyone in the law-enforcement system is having trouble.”
Apparently the only way to produce an acceptable “diversity” is through outright quotas.
In 1973, when the state police ranks were virtually all white, a Philadelphia civil-rights lawyer filed a lawsuit alleging the agency had discriminatory hiring practices.
To settle that suit, the state police agreed to strict minority hiring quotas to correct the racial imbalance. Starting in June 1974, Miller said, the agency began hiring one minority cadet for every white one.
The proportion of minorities steadily increased, reaching 9.2 percent of the force by 1983. From 1983 to 1993, the department hired one minority cadet for every two who were white.
Minority representation continued to go up, peaking at more than 12 percent in 1997, about equal to the state’s nonwhite population.
With that goal reached, the trend almost immediately started to reverse. There were no minority hires in 1997, state police records show. In 1998, four hires were minorities and 158 were white.
In February 1999, the federal judge overseeing the case ended the court monitoring. The department promised to work hard on recruiting to make sure black and other minority representation in the hiring pool was adequate.
It didn’t work.
The state police “didn’t really know how to do it,” Miller said. “You have a lot of people in business competing for the same applicants.”
Ah, so one of the main reasons the state police has become less diverse is that other businesses are “competing for the same applicants.” Well, this sounds like a huge problem that the legislature should address, and apparently some legislators agree:
… members of Pennsylvania’s legislative black caucus reacted angrily to the fall-off in the agency’s minority ranks, saying they were never informed there was a problem.
“A reduction like this is completely unacceptable,” said State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Phila.). “It isn’t right.”
Legislators vowed to push for change.
“It’s gone largely unnoticed. It cries out for a remedy,” said Rep. James Roebuck (D., Phila.).
Rep. Roebuck, on the evidence of this article, didn’t say precisely what the “It” is that cries out for a remedy, but by all means I think he should consider some sort of sanctions on firms who hire employees who also applied to the state police, or could have applied to the state police, and he may want to consider similar sanctions for blacks who would have made good state troopers but who decided to pursue careers elsewhere.
Meanwhile, awaiting the results of such legislative action, what can the state police do to increase its “diversity” and representativeness? First, they could follow the example of the FBI and some other police agencies:
To widen the hiring pool, the FBI and some big-city departments have relaxed standards on past drug use for recruits.
Miller said the Pennsylvania State Police had not done so.
Asked whether that was under consideration, he said only that there were arguments for and against loosening those rules.
But wait; there’s more! Hiring cops with a history of drugs is not all that can be done to increase the representativeness of the state police. Deputy Commissioner John R. Brown, “an African American lieutenant colonel” who is responsible for recruiting, said “We’ve come up with a bunch of new ideas.”
And indeed they have. Here’s a doozy:
To find Latino applicants, Brown said, he may send recruiters to Puerto Rico as other departments have done.
Such a move would go a long way toward making the Pennsylvania State Police more representative … of Puerto Rico.
On the theory, obviously the reigning theory in the Pa. state police, that “number” and “appearance” are all that matter, why not send recruiters to Africa to scoop up some black applicants? After all, if the Ivies can do that to beef up their numbers, why not the police?