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Columbus Tries Council to Recruit Women and Minority Police Applicants

The first meeting of the Columbus police division's Diversity Recruiting Council was held Tuesday evening. The council is made up of members who will represent the city's various ethic groups. The intent is to try to bring greater diversity to Columbus's police force.

Nearly 77 percent of police officers in the city force are white males. In spite of recent jobs fairs designed to attract more diverse candidates to the division, the city is getting more aggressive in addressing the problem. The new Diversity Recruiting Council is made up of members from the Asian-Indian Association; it also has representatives from Filipinos, Koreans, and others.

One of the new members is Phillip Shotwell who works for the Ohio Department of Development.

"Well I think that as this city has grown over the years the population demographics dictate that at the very least the minority representation on the police force should mimic that of the city as a whole," Shotwell says. "I don't think we're there yet."

The Columbus Division of Police is comprised of 1,830 employees. 76.8 percent are white men; 9 percent are white women; 10 percent are black men; and 2.6 percent are black women.

"With respect to why minorities are not joining the police force, I think there's just inherently built in a distrust of the police department by young people," Shotwell says. "That's just the nature of the beast. "But I think sometimes that if you give them a different approach and show them that police work is good work and it's meaningful work and actually you can make a decent living from that, then I think that young people can take a different viewpoint."

The city has only 13 Hispanic police officers; that's less than one percent of the police force.

The council will work to develop ways of attracting minority and women police applicants. It will also help develop a cost effective advertising and marketing plan.