An Examination of Racial Disparity in Police Hiring Practices

An Examination of Racial Disparity in Police Hiring Practices


Racial disparities in police hiring practices contribute to the underrepresentation of Black officers and exacerbate systemic racism, leading to strained relationships between law enforcement and communities of color.


  1. Significant racial disparities in hiring, with only 28% of Black applicants making it to Phase 1 compared to 57% of White, 48% of Hispanic, and 62% of Asian applicants.
  2. Disqualifying factors disproportionately impact Black applicants, with the highest rates of disqualification for reading comprehension, credit issues, and educational background.
  3. White applicants have the highest disqualification rates for drug use, voluntary withdrawal, mental health concerns, and contradictory information.


  1. Prioritize recruiting, hiring, and retaining a diverse police force that reflects the demographics of the communities served.
  2. Implement targeted strategies to attract and support a more representative pool of candidates, such as community outreach, mentorship programs, and partnerships with minority-serving institutions.
  3. Conduct a critical examination of current hiring practices to identify and eliminate barriers that disproportionately impact Black applicants.
  4. Provide ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion training for all officers to foster a more inclusive and culturally responsive police force.
  5. Establish clear pathways for advancement and leadership opportunities for officers of color to promote retention and representation at all levels of the department.
  6. Regularly assess and report on progress toward diversity goals, engaging community stakeholders in the process to ensure transparency and accountability.
By actively addressing racial disparities in police hiring and working to build a more diverse and representative police force, law enforcement agencies can strengthen trust, improve community relations, and take meaningful steps toward dismantling systemic racism in policing.