The protests against police in Ferguson, Missouri have many communities discussing the makeup of their police departments. Only 11 percent of Ferguson’s officers are black, compared to two-thirds of city residents.
The Rochester Police Department strives to reflect the community it serves. The department has been trying hard to improve diversity in its ranks. Seventy-five percent of the city’s 732 officers are white, compared to 44 percent of the city’s population.
But very few Rochester police officers live in the city. The city reports only 7 percent of police and firefighters live within city limits. Another report puts the figure at 10 percent for Rochester officers, with minority officers more likely to live in the city. The city is not legally allowed to impose residency requirements for uniformed personnel, though one is in place for other workers. Rochester does offer incentives for workers, including police, who purchase homes in the city.
In most cities, cops don’t live in the communities they patrol. Does this matter?
Supporters of police officers living in the city say it would make them more invested. They would know their neighbors. They would be good neighbors. Crime may fall on their streets. They would contribute to stability and improve the housing stock.
But police officers clearly don’t want to live in the city. Studies of other cities show incentive programs get limited use. Police officers don’t want to live in high-crime areas. They don’t want to send their kids to sub-par schools. They don’t want to run into people they arrested. They don’t want to be “on-call” after they’re done with work for the day.
In the absence of residency requirements, it looks like achieving racial diversity in police departments is far more realistic.
Links of the Day:
- Forbes values the Buffalo Bills at $935 million, second to last in league.
- Will Cuomo debate Teachout? Not looking like it.
- Most Americans want to criminalize preteens playing outdoors unsupervised. We’ve lost our minds.
- Teen says he was suspended and detained for joking about killing a pet dinosaur. We’ve really lost our minds.
- The New York State Fair has interesting food items, such as the chicken, bacon, ranch donut sandwich.