Police departments struggling to hire, especially minorities

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OZARK, Ala. (WDHN) — Police Departments across the nation are struggling to hire officers for multiple reasons.

Ozark police chief Charles Ward said, in general, it’s hard to find officers for law enforcement agencies across the country due to constant backlash they receive on a normal basis regarding past events and simply, family members being concerned about the safety of their loved ones.

But the much taller task – is hiring minorities such as black people.

“From history, law enforcement wasn’t really a popular occupation for minorities and now some people are still living off that history that they don’t think they will be welcomed in the law enforcement field,” Cheif Ward said.

Ozark’s black population is well above the national average but their share of black officers is well below the national average – 12 percent for the country and six percent for Ozark.

A question was raised, would having more black officers have an effect on black crime?

“When it comes to the black community in general, sometimes you get a negative effect. They look at law enforcement officers as Uncle Toms, sold out, drunk the Kool-Aid, in general, the people that you are having issues within the community it just really amplifies it and you would think it would be the other way around,” He said.

However, diversity in the police force is welcomed and beneficial.

“When you dealing with them you will understand their culture when you go out there with some of these issues you got and when you’re sitting in briefings and staff meetings, and when you’re trying to figure out how to solve an issue people can give information that can help you come up with a strategic plan that will help you deal with your problem,” Chief Ward said.

Chief Ward said they will educate you and help you figure out if it’s the right profession for you because the doors are open for all potential officers.

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