By Daryl Moore
Special to the AFRO
“Research has shown that diversity in a police department has a positive influence on reducing police brutality,” said Ryan Coleman, president of the Randallstown Chapter of the NAACP.
Coleman was referencing the Official Report Diversity in the Baltimore County Police Department . Coleman said the report was recently conducted by the chapter and released on Oct. 18 at a meeting with the county executive and other top police brass and that the Randallstown NAACP had requested that in 30 days to be given the recommendations that can be implemented including the time frame.
In June 2021, the Randallstown NAACP announced the Task Force on Diversity in the BCoPD. The Task Force brought together a diverse range of stakeholders including law enforcement leaders, advocates, academics, policymakers, and community members to explore strategies for strengthening community-police relations, reducing crime, and advancing public safety through diversity. The task force focused on the need to ensure the BCoPD better reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.
“The number of African Americans in command positions is the lowest number in 20 years,” Coleman said.
The report stated that although greater diversity in the BCoPD is not a cure-all solution to improving police community relations, the Task Force did identify diversity as an important factor in evaluating the multiple causes of fragmented trust.
The report further stated that although the spotlight on these issues is more prominent than it has been in the past. For many, including the BCoPD, government officials and community leaders, this is only one piece of a decades-long conversation about how the BCoPD and the communities they serve can best work together.
The report also highlighted how in 1972, Congress provided the federal government with greater authority to enforce the employment discrimination provisions of Title VII of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) against state and local public employers, including the law enforcement agencies. Every report for the past 20 years has recommended increased employment of minorities and women in the BCoPD.
“Black applicants are filtered out early through racially biased civil exams, accusations spelled out in multiple lawsuits and even in Baltimore County,” Coleman said. “Black and Brown candidates unfairly are disqualified for credit issues, minor brushes with law enforcement, and perceived attitude issues. In other words, the Baltimore County Police Department systematically rejects Black applicants at the outset of the process for various reasons. However, the Baltimore County police didn’t disqualify Caucasian applicants for the same reasons.”
“I am hoping the Chief and CE immediately institute our recommendations to change the culture and increase the diversity of the police department,” Coleman said.
Task Force Members included:
Therman Reed, Chair, Randallstown NAACP
Ryan Coleman, President, Randallstown NAACP
Baltimore County Councilman Izzy Patoka, 2nd District
Shelley Knox, President, Blue Guardians
Anthony Russell, Past President Blue Guardians
Ojeda Hall, Rev, New Psalmist Baptist Church
Wendell France Sr., Minster, New Psalmist Baptist Church
Warren Harding, Minister, New Psalmist Baptist Church
Tiffany Majors, President, GBUL
Kirk Mitchell, Coordinator, Office of Community Engagement, Baltimore County Government
Dennis Delp, Colonel, Baltimore County Police Department
Kelly Fenner, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Baltimore County Police Department
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