In December 2015, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) launched a new research initiative, Advancing Diversity in Law Enforcement, to identify barriers that undermine diversity in law enforcement and highlight promising practices that help agencies better reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.
The initiative has focused on barriers and promising practices across three key areas: recruitment, hiring, and retention. In so doing, this initiative has taken a broad look at various barriers to diversity, while also placing particular emphasis on practices that advance greater racial and gender diversity and foster the inclusion of the perspectives and experiences of persons from diverse backgrounds in the culture and leadership of law enforcement agencies. The Center for Policing Equity (CPE) spearheaded much of the initiative’s outreach and engagement with law enforcement. This initiative was created to assist law enforcement agencies throughout the country as they strive to expand access to opportunities to serve in law enforcement and build workforces that better reflect the diversity of their communities. This effort is intended to especially aid those small and mid-size police departments that recognize the importance of diversity, but may lack the resources to fully explore solutions.
The report, which builds on the recommendations of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, highlights that while greater workforce diversity alone cannot ensure fair and effective policing, a significant – and growing – body of evidence suggests that diversity can make policing more effective, more safe and more just. The report identifies both barriers and promising practices that have been adopted and/or are underway in communities across the country to advance diversity in law enforcement.