DOJ Report: Background Checks Hurt Diversity In Law Enforcement

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a comprehensive report Wednesday examining law enforcement hiring, recruitment, and retention policies with the aim of increasing diversity in police departments.

The report–“Advancing Diversity in Law Enforcement“–highlighted barriers to diversity within police departments, such as “the use of criminal background checks” which the researchers found “is likely to disproportionately impact racial minority applicants.”

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The report also found that U.S. citizenship requirements “may prevent a considerable number of racial and ethnic minorities – many of whom have valuable foreign language skills – from being hired by law enforcement agencies.”

The report found that in those department’s studied, African Americans were underrepresented in 60 percent of the departments, Latinos were underrepresented in 41 percent, and Asian Americans were underrepresented in 31 percent.

In regards to criminal background checks the report stated that they “have also highlighted that the use of criminal background checks, which are a regular part of the screening process for many agencies, is likely to disproportionately impact racial minority applicants since, for a variety of reasons, individuals from those communities are more likely to have contact with the criminal justice system.”

The report suggests that “excluding applicants regardless of the nature of the underlying offense, or how much time has passed since an offense occurred, or without any consideration of whether the candidate has changed in the intervening period, can be a significant – and unwarranted – barrier.”

The report also argued that residency and citizenship requirements can limit underrepresented communities’ presence in law enforcement and they should be considered by local agencies, even though federal law enforcement has a citizenship requirement.

On the hiring of women in law enforcement, according to the report, “research has shown that physical tests may have a significant and unnecessary impact on female applicants when they lack a corresponding benefit or job-related need.”

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  1. Combaticron

    Why do we pepper-spray officers in the academy? So why do most departments automatically DQ for drugs?

  2. Brice Hanson

    I don’t see this issue in MN…currently in the last semester of my bachelors program for Law Enforcement and I see Asian Americans, Hispanics, African Americans, and even some Somali individuals who are qualified for the line of work. Simply put, if you want to become a police officer, steer clear of trouble and choose the people you spend time with wisely.

  3. ahaz

    Given today’s age of over criminalization, we do need to be judicious of the type of officers that we hire. Naturally, those convicted of a crime associated with violence should be immediately disqualified. While I prefer our police forces, be diverse, what’s really important to me is the professionalism and judgement of the officer. For the most part, our police force is not educated enough, not trained well enough and not monitored closely enough or held accountable enough to ensure and maintain a professional force.

  4. Jeremy Weedingham

    Criminal background checks target criminals….a check of ones background is colorblind.

  5. Jerry Daley

    The DOJ has a serious credibility problem: it chooses to openly & harshly criticize police officers and agencies, but will not even convene a grand jury to investigate a presidential candidate’s apparent mishandling of emails containing national security matters, and (potentially) cover-ups of arms dealings with foreign actors. You wonder why both the police and BLM don’t trust DOJ.

  6. Michael Sullivan

    In essence they are saying that we should hire illegal immigrants with criminal records as police officers. A fish rots from the head down. We have treason and destruction coming out of Washington DC in the same way the EU has it coming out of Berlin and Brussels. God help us all.

  7. lobsterbait

    Relaxing the hiring standards did not work so well in Miami many years ago. Many were arrested for such crimes as murder, ripping off drug dealers, involvement with prostitution and other offenses. The current subtle efforts to attack the country from inside out with this idiotic proposal is the next attack.

  8. Kay Yak

    You need to be Red, Whit and Bue to be an American police officer!

    • lobsterbait

      Color of skiin means absolutely nothing. How can skin do anything. It is attitude, behavior, actions, beliefs and values. What a dumb criteria, color of skin. How about shoe size, or color of eyes?

      • Michael Sullivan

        I do not think Kay Yak disagrees with your statement at all.

  9. SayItsNotSo

    This is nuts. Lower the standards so you include more people no matter what their background? Even if it’s criminal? Crazy.

    • lobsterbait

      Imagine that police officer stopping someone on their “I hate” list?

  10. shortandsassy61

    How stupid is the DOJ why would you eliminate background checks for law enforcement, of all jobs, are they kidding

  11. David

    Even with background checks we have problem officers. So…. The answer is hire people with a history of it?
    Hire women that can’t perform simple physical tasks?

  12. MNE

    So, they are there own victims bc they commit crimes, which (DUH) is a hindrance to becoming a Police Officer (You Think?), so the DOJ, which is run by a corrupt Attorney General, thinks we should just let bygones be bygones and hire Minority applicants anyway bc, after all, it’s not their fault they sling drugs, Rob, burgle, car jack, shoot and murder. Society is at fault for allowing it? You can’t fix stupid..

  13. frank tomasic

    so the fact that blacks commit the most crime, and effects their job worthiness…is a problem because???? what am I missing here????

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