February 23rd, 2010 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, City Hall, Cops and Courts

Minorities in the Portland Police: Some Very Sad Numbers


While reporting on tomorrow's WW cover story about the Aaron Campbell shooting, I requested data from the police bureau on the number of minority cops it employs.

The question was prompted by two recent events.

First was Rev. Jesse Jackson's calls in Portland Feb. 16 for greater minority representation in the cop shop and in city government. Then came Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman's statement Feb. 19 that minority candidates were abandoning their bid to become cops after Campbell's Jan. 29 fatal shooting by police.

The answers I got from the police bureau were, frankly, pretty pathetic — even for a city that's 78.6 percent white.

It turns out the police bureau is 87.8 percent white. Out of 969 sworn officers, 118 are racial minorities. Also, women make up just 16 percent of sworn officers.

And the saddest fact of all: last year, when the police bureau went on a hiring spree to be fully staffed for the first time in years, it made just one black hire out of 57 new cops recruited.

Here's the inglorious breakdown from the police bureau:

PPB Minorities

Those numbers clearly show the need for more minority hiring.

When Saltzman revealed last week that minority candidates are jumping ship, he also said he's personally trying to convince them to stay. And he told WW in a recent interview that boosting minority hiring in the police bureau is one of his top priorities.

Check out tomorrow's WW for more on the Campbell shooting.
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