This study, by researchers at George Washington University, and then covered by the NY Times, is an important effort toward creating transparency about the nation's police forces and they ways in which they reflect--or don't--the communities they are supposed to serve. Prompted by the popular outcry criticizing the police murder of the young Michael Brown, an incident in which the racial gap has been named as a factor in the violence, this study highlights cities where the police force is not demographically representative of the community. Not surprisingly, several IE cities are mentioned--with the tiny city of Montclair taking first place with a racial gap index of 69! Other cities with high rankings include Pomona (54), Ontario (51), and Chino (45). By way of comparison, Ferguson has a ranking of 55! So there is definitely a problem with community-police relations throughout the IE, and race is one of the reasons for that deep mistrust. It is nice to finally have some hard data looking at this and shedding some light on these shady police departments.
Here's the link to the NY Times article:
The Race Gap in America’s Police Departments
By JEREMY ASHKENAS and HAEYOUN PARK SEPT. 4, 2014
In hundreds of police departments across the country, the percentage of whites on the force is more than 30 percentage points higher than in the communities they serve, according to an analysis of a government survey of police departments. Minorities make up a quarter of police forces, according to the 2007 survey, the most recent comprehensive data available. Experts say that diversity in the police force increases a department’s credibility with its community. “Even if police officers of whatever race enforce the law in relatively the same way, there is a huge image problem with a department that is so out of sync with the racial composition of the local population,” said Ronald Weitzer, a sociologist at George Washington University. Listed below are local police departments from 16 metropolitan areas, sorted so that departments with the largest percentage-point differences of white officers to white residents are at the top.
Cities in Los Angeles County with large Hispanic populations, like West Covina and Pomona, have mostly white police departments. In parts of Orange County, like Buena Park, Tustin and Garden Grove, growing Asian and Hispanic communities are also policed by mostly white departments.