Local News

Raleigh Police Trying To Improve Diversity Among Ranks

Posted November 22, 2002

— At a time when Raleigh is launching a major community policing effort, the department is also trying to increase diversity. When it comes to race, some claim Raleigh police do not reflect the community they serve.

According to the Raleigh Police Department, 18 percent of the officers are minorities. In comparison, minorities make up 35 percent of the city's population.

"I'm deeply concerned and bothered that the makeup of the police department does not reflect the makeup of the population," city councilman James West said.

While city officials are concerned, Raleigh's mayor said the situation has improved.

"I think it's important to keep in mind that we have increased by about 40 percent the number of minority officers in the last five years as we've gone from 13 percent to 18 percent," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said.

"We do see the need to increase the diversity within the department to reflect the total population that we serve," said Maj. C.E. Lewis, the department's highest ranking black officer.

Lewis said fewer minorities are promoted because fewer are hired. He said the department is making a big push to change this.

"We have increased staff in our personnel and recruiting section as well as making certain areas target-specific mainly black neighborhoods, black colleges and military bases," he said.

"I think the chief is moving in the right direction, but this is going to be a key issue," West said.

Other departments across the state are also struggling with diversity on the police force. Twenty percent of Charlotte's police force is minority, while blacks make up almost 30 percent of the city's population.

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