The Daily Illini

Editorial: Police diversity to match a diverse country

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

The University is a reflection of the country itself; it’s made up of a diverse population with varying races, religious affiliations and genders that make us all different and unique.

Within these communities and subcultures, we see varying rates of crime, but as an entire country, it should be no surprise to anyone in the U.S. that relations between police forces and regular citizens have been volatile at worst, and stable at best.

There may be no quick way to amend the relationship between the police and the public, but to ensure the safety of all students, both at the University and other communities in the country, we need to start coming up with solutions now to foster peace and civility. Every citizen — no matter their background, race or gender — should always feel safe.

While there are a plethora of factors that influence the decision of who gets hired as parts of the police force, diversity should be held to a high level of importance within police departments across the nation.

On Saturday, Parkland College’s Student Union Building will host a career fair specifically for women interested in joining law enforcement. This is the second year the event has taken place and it aims to make police departments as diverse as the people they represent.

Gender inequality in law enforcement is a prominent problem as women make up only 20 percent of sworn officers. Often, many of these women in law enforcement are not taken seriously by their male counterparts, and some even face harassment.

If we see more diversity within the police force, we will hopefully see more equal treatment under the law and avoid tragic situations caused by police brutality, which has taken the lives of many innocent citizens, especially those of racial minorities as of late.

Having more women in the police force specifically could offer more support and comfort for survivors of rape and sexual assault.

We are still unfortunately living in a world where men and women do not feel comfortable reporting sexual assault, but having a more diverse spread of police officers could help with that issue. Especially in these specific cases, reporting to someone of the same gender can provide more comfort and confidence.

When coming to matters of safety and feeling protected as citizens, we should aim to hire candidates who can protect and serve to the best of their abilities, but we should all acknowledge that this shows itself in many forms, such as strength and mentality. We also have to consider the people who are being protected and served when we make these hires. We’re a diverse population, and our police force needs to represent that.

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