How Important Is Diversity in a Police Department?

WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) -- As the situation in Ferguson, Mo. keeps building up, one problem neighbors have noticed is the police department doesn't represent the diversity of the city.

In the Valley, the Waynesboro Police Department starts with a large pool of candidates and works it down to the best recruit.

The department isn't necessarily looking to hire someone with a certain skin color or background, it just want the best officers.

One thing that's important to the department is having its officers involved in the community.

"It is very vital that all officers interact with the youth. School Resource Officers get to see them everyday. Yes, they're a law enforcement officer, but they also see them as being a friend and a mentor and someone that they can talk to everyday in school," said Capt. Becky Meeks, who is heavily involved with the hiring process.

She said they don't want them known just as officers, but people that are relatable.

"It's important that we have officers that are known in the community and that interact with the community. I love to see when our officers are coaches and referees and involved with youth sports because that's the important part," continued Meeks.

Meeks also said that many new recruits say they were influenced to become police officers because they had a good relationship with their school resource officer when they were in school.


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