Local News

Report: Minority Numbers Still Lag at Raleigh Fire Department

Posted January 11, 2007
Updated January 12, 2007

A new report shows less than 15 percent of Raleigh Fire Department personnel are minorities.

When Fire Chief John McGrath was hired in 2005, he was charged with improving the racial makeup of the department. Two years later, the new report shows there's been little improvement.

A recent census report shows that out 549 employees in the department, 81 are minority. There are even fewer minorities in management. Of 109 captains, six are minorities. There are 24 minority lieutenants.

Welton Jones was the second black firefighter hired by the city of Raleigh. His wall holds plaques honoring him as the first black firefighter to retire from the city. But Jones said making history hasn't been easy.

"They kept hiring whites,” Jones said. “Then, when I would complain about it, they would stick a black in every now and then."

This week, Jones went before the City Council to complain about the low minority numbers. Mayor Charles Meeker told WRAL the city has been actively trying to recruit minorities. Still, the overwhelming majority of firefighters are white males.

“There is only so much that you can do,” Meeker said. “But the new fire chief has been very successful. There were over 200 minority applicants, about 15 selected. This is a very competitive position."

Meeker said the city is reaching out to black churches and other organizations to recruit more minorities. McGrath is also working on encouraging more minorities in the department to apply for promotions.

However, Jones said more needs to be done to change the racial makeup of the department. He told WRAL he's willing to do what it takes to make sure history doesn't repeat itself

"There are stations here in Raleigh right now where there is not one black,” he said. "I'm going to fight it all the way.”

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  • wondermom67 Jan 13, 2007

    RFD ya'll should have seen this one coming.Endless is correct in the fact that it is in time for MLK day. FACT, the only academy in 2006 30 recruit hired, 40% are black, 10% are women my math tell me that is 50% are MINORTIES.Now minority in not just limited to ones skin color, but also their sex, and ethinc background.Deacon keeps saying "black", is he not being a little racist and sexist as well? No there in not a black male at every station, nor is there a woman,hispanic,asian,etc.at every station.Sounds to me that Deacon only wants black males hired,and that is racist and reverse dicsrimination, and I am offended.Everone knows that Deacon is only the mouth piece for a select few in the RFD.Deacon is creating more problems in this brotherhood.Firemen beware,we are coming upon Black History month and this will continue.You all know that Stanfod cannot say anything to the media (there is rules against that) for fear of being fired,so he is using Deacon as his mouth piece.

  • endlessbs Jan 13, 2007

    WOW!! Sloane. Thanks for that refreshing white male bashing article, and just in time for Martin Luther King holiday. Sure was original and thought provoking.( rolls eyes ). Thanks for giving our organization another undeserved black eye. Amazing to me you hooked up with a , in my opinion, a loser like "deacon" Jones to get to the so called truth about the efforts of RFD in the hiring of minorities. Im one of the White men that had been passed over for a number of years, only to be told each time that in order to receive federal funds they must meet a quota and they must hire minorities. I kept applying and made it because i wanted to belong to this organization that badly. This article is a slap in the face for those of us who have suffered from reverse discrimination instituted by the federal goverment. Sloane, in my opinion, you are lying by omission and have let Jones pull the press into another white man bashing frenzy at RFDS expense. We've been "Nifonged"!

  • DonT Jan 13, 2007

    Who can I cry to because NCCU, Shaw, St.Aug, the NBA, Bojangles, etc.. will not come and recruit me to teach, study, play or work. I am upset they are not doing more to make their respective organizations more white and diverse. Why are more whites not working for the Raleigh sanitation dept.? They keep hiring blacks and throw in an occasional white or hispanic. Logical statement or the need to play the repressed black card? Welton Jones is a racist idiot and always has been.

  • chris23 Jan 12, 2007

    RFD is a business just like any other. Lets talk about other businesses in town. Where are all the “whites” at Bojangles and Burger King. I feel offended that WRAL is not LIVE at McDonalds with this racial inequality. How about Public Safety in general. Look at Emergency Medical Workers - not many “blacks” Look at the Emergency Department Staff - not many “blacks.” I really think the reporting methods/efforts at WRAL have just dropped tremendously over the last few weeks. What is going on over there. I think the way to get a job is to get an education and work hard. I would like to know that I got my job/promotion because I was the best qualified applicant not because I have dark skin. I by far am not the smartest person out here but I try to make a living with hard work and honesty. I pay my bills and everything I have is mine because I have worked for it and earned it, was not just given to me on a silver platter. I am not a firefighter nor am I black. I am n

  • firedup2008 Jan 12, 2007

    The next time you see us dressed out in full gear, notice that you cannot tell us apart. We are all the same color, the same race, we are all firefighters. When I am inside a burning building and I see a brother falling, I will not look to see what race or gender that firefighter is...he/she is my brother. I will not leave them. They will not leave me. That is one indelible fact that no one on the outside looking in will ever understand. The media will never understand and those of you that take the media at face value will never understand. Ask any brother in the service and they will tell you the same. We are all family. Deacon came through during a very racially charged and tumultuous time in this country's history and it is regretable to say the least. It has obvious left a lasting impression on him and who could blame him, but this country has come a long way since then. If this country isn't ever allowed to heal then it will not heal. Let this rest. God Bless.

  • greengrass2 Jan 12, 2007

    If Deacon Jones is truely worried about minority hiring, maybe he will tell us what HE has done to help recruit minorities.
    If there were more research done on the subject i think we would find that it's hard to hire people who don't apply (or qualify).As was stated earlier, this is not just any job. It takes a special kind of person to want to be a firefighter.

  • firecaptain2000 Jan 12, 2007

    Sloan, why don’t you focus more on our recruiting efforts, why so few minorities respond to the call for employment and try shedding a little brighter light on our “equal opportunity” promotional system where the highest score gets the job! You and Welton “Deacon” Jones have already beaten this angle to death!

  • Its Just What I Do Jan 12, 2007

    what's the "minority" ration at McDonald's?!
    If your house is buring are you gonna request a fireman of a certain color to put it out, i'm certainly NOT! It really makes NO difference, does it?!!!
    Kudos to cturneratdwhomes for the comment that they need to get off their ass to get on their feet!!:)

  • Obama-is-a-retard Jan 12, 2007

    What do they want? This job is based on a fitness level. I don't see how that can be the reason. Are they saying minorities are less fit and as such don't qualify? What do they want? Lets just hire someone because we need x number of minorities. So lets not hire the best fit lets hire based on your race who cares if the person can't carry another out of a building?

  • kahshop Jan 12, 2007

    Superdad412...outstanding! Thank you for your post!