The diversity of American police forces

August 14, 2014

Does the local police force reflect the racial makeup of your community? According to an interactive chart created by the Washington Post today — following this week’s protests over the police killing of an unarmed black teenager in the largely black community of Ferguson, Missouri — the answer is probably not.


The Post analyzed Census Bureau data, finding that that the vast majority of cities have a police presence that is a lot whiter than their population.

The dots in blue are cities where the police force is more white than the community. The gray are cities where the opposite is true. One of the most interesting things about this chart is the prevalence of dots at the very top: that’s where 100 percent of the police force is white, even when the community is relatively diverse.

Check out the full interactive for more detail.

And here, Reuters looks at the Ferguson PD specific situation:


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I think a major reason for the disparity in majority-Black communities is due to the historical relationship between police and the African-American community. The distrust they have of police is well-founded on the numerous abuses they have suffered over the years, and so, a police officer is not a hero or a role model in these communities.

The lack of diversity in police forces is because young Black men and women typically have no desire to join the profession. Until the image of the police improves in the African-American community, this disparity will likely continue.

Posted by ntcalhoun | Report as abusive

Here we go… People in the media once again fanning the flames.

Yes, one cop MAY have done something wrong, and he was white… So of course, that means all white cops everywhere are guilty, and don’t deserve to have the jobs they have.

Posted by dd606 | Report as abusive

I think white police needs to be closed down.

When the majority of population are criminals of afro-american origin,
the police force is against democracy and racist in the same time.
Majority will tell how things will be run in this neighborhood.

Posted by AnEstonian | Report as abusive

This is what happens when people don’t vote.
Also too many small departments without proper oversight that ignore diversity issues.
It’s just common sense, the police should reflect the community they serve then the anti police mob have to find other issues.

Posted by GeordieJack | Report as abusive