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Police force diversity


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"I don't think you'll see a reduction in shootings," he said. "It doesn't matter the race or gender or ethnicity of a person when they are threatened with a weapon. But in less serious situations, you may have fewer conflicts."

Sgt. Meghan Lehman, spokeswoman for the Troy Police Department, said she doesn't feel there is a specific style attributed to males or females.

"I don't think there's a style that is specific to gender. I think it varies from officer to officer," she said. "It could. You never know who the individual officer you're talking to might relate to. It could be a factor that helps."

Of the 100 sworn officers at the Troy Police Department, Lehman said 11 are female. And, while she said the department doesn't track race or ethnicity among the ranks, she said it's helpful to have a diverse workforce.

"There are over 80 languages spoken in Troy, so when we have officers that speak those languages, it's helpful," she said. "We have outreach programs, so we try to establish ourselves as a helpful presence and hopefully spark an interest in law enforcement as a career for a variety of people."

Nationally, about 27 percent of local police officers belonged to a racial or ethnic minority in 2013, compared to just 15 percent in 1987, according to the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics.

About 130,000 minority local police were employed in 2013, up about 78,000 (150 percent) from 1987. About 58,000 African American officers were employed by departments in 2013, up 5 percent from 2007. Approximately 55,000 Hispanic or Latino officers were employed by departments in 2013, up about 16 percent since 2007; and about 14,000 officers were members of other minority groups (Asian, Native Hawaiian, other Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaska native), up about 2.7 percent in 2007 and four times more than in 1987, according to the study.

The Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards began automated tracking of racial and ethnic minorities in law enforcement in 2004. Statistics from MCOLES that include race or ethnicity prior to 2004 aren't available. Statewide, 5,451 officers have been certified since 2004, including 614 African American officers; 128 Hispanic or Latino; 51 American Indian; 37 multi-racial or other; 36 Asian; 17 Arabic; four Pacific Islander; and two Alaskan.

In Oakland County, a total of 601 law enforcement officers have been certified by MCOLES since 2004, including 27 African American; eight Hispanic or Latino; four Asian; and two Arabic.

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