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Lawson said the department has 69 sworn officers, but is hoping to reach 77 in the next 12 months. Of those currently employed, he said five are female; two are African American; and three are Chaldean.
"There are some others, but I'm not comfortable asking what they are," he said. "We continue to look for top quality candidates out there for our police department."
Bloomfield Hills Police Department Chief Dave Hendricksen, who was with the Warren Police Department prior to coming to Oakland County, said the department hires about once every two years.
"In Warren, we really tried to hire African Americans. We really did, and there really wasn't much interest on their part," he said. "I can't blame them. They view the police as a not very welcoming place. Here (in Bloomfield Hills) we only hire every two years or so, and we have to hire the best. We don't know who they are – it's blind interviews. We recently had a woman get pretty far through the process, but we ended up with more white males.
"I'd like to get some different diversity and gender diversity. We don't have a lot of applicants that aren't white males."
Despite the lack of diversity in some communities, Southfield Police Chief Eric Hawkins said African-American officers are one group that is fairly well represented in law enforcement, both locally and nationally. Of the 123 sworn officers at his department, he said 15 are white females; 13 black males; one black female; and two Chaldean males.
White Lake Police Chief Adam Kline said the department doesn't track ethnicity or race, but that two of the 26 sworn officers in the department are women.
"The only trend I've noticed is that applications and volume was down from prior years," he said. "My opinion is that it's because there are more departments hiring. I can only point to economics and population movement."
Wolverine Lake Village Police Chief John Ellsworth said his department has 10 officers, two of which are women.
"I don't particularly look for male, female, African American or their descent. I look at qualifications. I eliminate the ones that aren't qualified and go that route," he said.
Walled Lake Police Chief Paul Shakinas said the department has 18 sworn officers, of which three are women. "One is a minority, or non-white, if that's the correct terminology," he said.
Shakinas said the department advertises openings through the state's MCOLES.
"With that, every applicant that has experience gets a thorough review and possibly an interview if they pass an initial background check."...continued on page 10