Local police departments face challenges in hiring minority officers

WINDSOR, N.C. (WNCT) – Police departments across the country are having difficulty hiring minorities, and that has some towns in the East coming under scrutiny.

Town officials in Windsor are asking why the police department has only had one non-white male officer since April. The department attributes it to issues in recruiting and a lack of trust. So they’re leaving the position open until they can find a minority to fill it.

Windsor Police attend Basic Law Enforcement Training graduations throughout the East to recruit.

Chief James Lane hopes a new cadet program designed to help high schoolers get a criminal justice degree will bring in more diversity.

“That’ll help us tremendously, but it won’t help us now. So what we’re doing now is we’re trying to reach out to the minority community to tell them they’re welcome to come, put in their applications, and that we’re actively seeking them to be employed here,” said Chief Lane.

This is a problem we found for police departments throughout the East. In Farmville, there is 1 white female officer; the rest are white males. In Greenville, more than 75% of sworn officers are white. In Elizabeth City, 57% of officers are white. In New Bern, 21 of 77 officers are minorities. In Kinston, 8 of 65 sworn officers are minorities.

Each department faces a unique set of challenges, so each department handles boosting diversity differently. Many say they also attend BLET graduations for recruitment and reach out to the community. The Kinston Department of Public Safety created a police officer trainee position to attract minorities. Through this, the department hires a candidate, pays for their BLET classes, and asks them to serve at least 2 years with KDPS. To apply, head to the city of Kinston’s website.

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