Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Unlike the Ferguson Police Department in Missouri, the Los Angeles Police Department employs a force that generally matches up with the city’s population in ethnicity, an LAPD spokesperson said Wednesday.

“The concern is: when you have a population that mirrors the police department, the community will feel like more of a partner,” Los Angeles police Officer Jack Richter told City News Service.

“And it’s easier to be a ‘partner’ if the organization is not foreign to you,” Richter said.

Richter spoke in the wake of Atty. Gen. Eric Holder’s statement today that investigators have found that the Ferguson Police Department in Missouri has engaged in “a widespread pattern” of racial bias and Constitutional violations, and that the fatal shooting of a black man in that city by a white officer “though a tragedy did not involve prosecutable conduct.”

Black people make up about two thirds of the population of Ferguson. At the time of the fatal shooting, only three of the 53 city police officers were black.

Richter said the LAPD’s hiring practices, in place since a consent decree changed policy, have led to a police force that is “pretty close” to the ethnicity of the city for white, Hispanic and black officers, but “we still have a way to go” as far as gender equity.

“We’re still pretty good, though,” Richter said.

He said the consent decree mandated that the city and the police department must make an attempt to achieve a racial makeup and gender makeup that matches the “working population” – those who have jobs – of the city.

And the LAPD’s past three chiefs — Bernard Parks, William Bratton and Charlie Beck — have all embraced the issue of the consent decree’s hiring practices.

City News Service

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