Ben Kesling and Cameron McWhirter, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
(The Wall Street Journal) — The percentage of African-Americans in U.S. police departments has remained flat since before the recession, even as police hiring of other minorities has increased, according to a U.S. Department of Justice survey released Thursday.
A lack of black officers, especially in communities with large African-American populations, has been cited frequently in the wake of police-involved deaths of black residents that sparked riots in cities from Ferguson, Mo., to Baltimore in the past year.
Black officers make up just 12% of all local police officers, the survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed. The overall U.S. black population is 13.2%, according to estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Departments struggle to recruit and retain African-Americans in part because of black distrust of police departments and possibly outdated criteria for employment, according to researchers who have studied the issue.