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Police force diversity

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Birmingham Police Chief Don Studt said the department also uses EMPCO to find candidates for both the police and fire departments. Of the 30 sworn officers at the Birmingham Police Department, the department employs four white females; one black male; and one Arabic male.

"They provide the written test, and we pull from their list," he said. "We go with the ones that stand out."

Milford Police Chief Tom Lindberg said of the department's 18 sworn officers, two are female, and two are non-white.

"We don't have a major concern, as say Troy or Novi, or Farmington Hills, which has a large Indian population," he said. "In small communities, it may be a little different."

Lindberg, who is head of the Oakland County Police Chiefs Association, said there often are conversations among the members about diversity amongst the ranks.

"Nobody knows what a real good answer is. In every community you want a police force to reflect their community," he said. "Culturally, there are some groups that aren't drawn to police work or the public sector. That could be a byproduct of the culture. It's difficult for us to manage. Milford is significantly different in terms of the population base, but we should have a little more diversity than we have."

Lindberg said there seems to be a lack of effort in the educational system to push students into police work or public service, which affects all aspects of recruiting. He said finding a way to push young people toward a career in law enforcement, while still in college, could help increase diversity in the recruitment pool.

"Hopefully, if you push that a little, there's some investment in it, and colleges with a with a diverse student base can push some students into law enforcement."

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