After last summer’s resurgence of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement along with the Defund The Police movement, many say it has hurt diversity efforts by police departments.
Texas congressional candidate and former police sergeant Tre Pennie told Fox News it took five years for the BLM movement to break the diversity efforts police departments have been working on since the 90’s.
“It doesn’t surprise me. It’s unfortunate that we have actually hit this point in American history where if you think about it, since the 90s, we have been on this community policing push where we have been trying to increase our ranks of diverse officers in our communities,” Pennie said.
“It only took five years for the BLM movement and the defund police movement to reverse that whole process.”
Pennie added that he’s had several conversations with young Black men about becoming officers and is encouraging more departments to engage with young Black communities.
“I got a group of young African-Americans getting off of the bus. I was trying hopefully thinking they were going to be excited about engaging the police. One of the guys said to me I’m not going to talk to no ‘racist police.’ I got to talking to the young man. I pulled out my I.D. and I told him I was police for 22 years. And I broke that ice. And he got excited these kids were so excited to see that I was a police officer,” Pennie said.
The New York Police Department has cited a 14% drop in Black officers since 2008 and departments in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Chicago.
David Graham wrote a piece in The Atlantic acknowledging the declining numbers, adding that a wave of Black officers are reaching retirement age and there aren’t enough Black officers to replace them.
“Black employment in the Philadelphia Police Department has fallen 19 percent since 2017. The number of Black officers in the Chicago Police Department has dropped by 12 percent since May 2019. Even Washington, D.C., long a leader in minority-police recruitment, has had a 25 percent decrease since 1998, when two-thirds of officers were Black, to 50 percent today, though the city also got whiter over that time period. The LAPD has seen a 24 percent drop in Black officers, from 1,175 in 2010 to 885 today, though the department’s ranks have also shrunk,” Graham wrote.
Making things worse for departments is those on duty are dying at a large rate as well, due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more officers in the last year than any other factor. However, departments across the country continue to resist the vaccine.