Rochester Police Department Working to Improve Diversity

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A police car rushes to the emergency call with lights turned onIn the wake of the Dallas police shootings, Police Chief David Brown said to demonstrators, “Become a part of the solution. Serve your communities. Don’t be a part of the problem. We’re hiring … put an application in.”

Fortunately, police departments across the country are heeding his message and encouraging diversity in their forces.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has echoed that message since Dallas, also following the arrest of 74 individuals during a peaceful protest downtown.

The City of Rochester has been under federal order to hire police officers from more diverse backgrounds, and since that mandate, they have made significant progress.

However, considering 60% of the people who live in Rochester are minorities, the Mayor says, the city still has a long way to go.

The issue of diversity isn’t one solely haunting police forces, though. Even companies as large as Facebook have issues with diversity.

The difference between the two, however, is that Facebook may be placing blame in the wrong areas.

Earlier this month, Facebook’s head of diversity attributed the lack of black, Latino, and female employee population at the company to a lack of qualified applicants.

Arguments ensued far and wide across the internet, but those arguments failed to include the group actually being discussed: students.

“I know the talent exists,” said Elio Morillo, a student leader at the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, who now works in Pasadena at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “But there’s a struggle in that a lot of companies aren’t all trained in finding people and they’re not doing the most effective job of recruiting. But at the same time, we have an education system in this country that systematically leaves black and Latino students behind.”

Though Google has reported increasing numbers in diversity, it’s become clear that diversity is an industry-wide issue. U.S. patent lawsuits have increased from 500 to over 3,000 annually in the last 20 years, a number that puts diversity rates to shame.

Currently, the Rochester police force is 73% white, 12% black, 12% Latino, two percent Asian, and just one percent Native American. It’s no technical field, but it’s one that stands to make significant change and progress with increasing diversity.

“We are setting up recruitment efforts at churches starting in September, we have another exam in November and we encourage the community to apply,” Mayor Warren says.