Another View: Why Elgin police diversity is important

I was going to cover this, but Todd Martin did a great job using far fewer words than it would’ve taken me. So in Todd’s own words:

Two Council members publicly stated they do not want the City to hire people based on “how they look”. That’s code for race, i.e, do not try to hire Hispanics. They are perfectly okay if we end up with an all-white police force if whites score the highest on the test. The inequalities shown in Ferguson simply are not a concern for them.

What the City is really doing is actively recruiting minorities to apply for positions. That’s it. Everyone in the applicant pool is treated equally, so there is no “Affirmative Action”. No one who is Hispanic gets a bonus point in their evaluation. They don’t even make speaking Spanish a requirement or worth extra points (which I think is a mistake).

There are two issues which are tangled up in this “controversy”.  martin

First is the question of getting good value for your money in going to Puerto Rico to recruit candidates. That is more expensive than a trip to Saint Louis (Heaven help us). I’d say it is cheaper to recruit top talent than it is to suffer living with a substandard police force.

Second is the question of the importance of diversity in our Police Force. When most of your Police Officers can’t talk to over a third of the people they serve, that’s a big problem.

I saw video of a fatal police shooting in St. Louis. After the officers repeatedly shot a black man until he crumpled dying on the ground, instead of rendering CPR or trying to stop the bleeding, they cuffed him and pointed a gun at him. Then left him dead on the ground. The only way to get over the FEAR between the Police and the people they serve is if they think of one another as being part of one another. Us versus Them is a recipe for disaster.

2 thoughts on “Another View: Why Elgin police diversity is important

  1. A simple way to increase diversity while improving communication with the residents is to award extra points to bilingual candidates, regardless of their ethnicity. That is recognizing that having an additional skill is valuable for the department.

  2. I think we also need to approach the other side of that equation. Yes, we need more bilingual cops, but just as important is we need stronger programs to produce more bilingual citizens. Those immigrating to the U.S. SHOULD honor their home culture and language and keep it alive — while learning the culture and language of their new country. We need to continue active efforts at recruiting more Hispanics and other non-Caucasians for our public services — but I don’t think we need to do that by going to Puerto Rico. There’s just as much top talent available here in the continental U.S. if we’d just work harder to develop it. Years back the East Aurora school district spent a bunch of money sending people to Spain to recruit teachers; the few that came didn’t relate any better to the Hispanics in the district, who are mostly from Mexican backgrounds, than the Caucasian teachers. And I don’t think most of them are still in the district.

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