Building a better police department
Bloomberg Businessweek - 12/11/2014
In the wake of the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, both black, there have been many calls from activists for more ethnically diverse police forces. “Symbolically, it’s important,” says Peter Manning, a criminologist at Northeastern University. “But there’s no evidence that recruiting more people similar to the people in the community—whether it’s blacks, women, Asians, people who speak several languages—will alter practice. In itself, it has a marginal impact.” What would have a much more immediate effect would be safeguards requiring that officers themselves aren’t criminals. According to Department of Justice figures, the majority of police departments allow people with misdemeanor convictions, a suspended driver’s license, or credit- or job-related problems to apply.