(KMOV.com) – Maryland Heights police told News 4 they have had to resort to creative techniques to try to attract job candidates from different backgrounds.
Out of 79 officers, just two are from minority background. Chief Bill Carson told News 4 the number of minority officers on staff doesn’t reflect the make-up of the community. He also said the department has been trying to attract minority candidates for over a year and said it has been difficult to attract such applicants.
“We have not kept up with the change in demographics,” Carson said.
In a recent round of hiring, only three of the 81 applicants were African American. In nearby Overland, the police department told News 4 it has also had a hard time making its force more diverse. Only two of the 47 Overland officers are minorities, neither are African American.
“They have a lot of opportunities beyond municipal law enforcement,” Carson said.
Maryland Heights police started advertising in minority newspapers and is sending an officer to speak at the 100 Black Men Summit.
“It (Ferguson) is a reminder that this is something that is important and it’s something we have to continue to work toward. We put the plan together a year ago for how to implement minorities,’ Carson said.
Police officer applicants are hired from an eligibility list established by the board of police commissioners. Maryland Heights police hold hiring events once per year.