Sacramento Police Department Working to Increase Ethnic Diversity

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A new article from FiveThirtyEight broke down the ethnic makeup of different police departments around the country, including Sacramento's.

Community advocate Tommy Brown says in a city like Sacramento, the police force should reflect the community.

"I think it's time that if you have diverse community, the police force matches that,” Brown said. “If there are blacks, whites, and Hispanics, they needed to be represented."

Does the Sacramento Police Department reflect the community it serves?

According to data from 2013, whites dominate the department with a total of 458 sworn officers. There are a total of 64 Hispanics and 57 Asian cops. Compare those numbers to 24 African Americans, nine Filipinos, and four Native Americans.

The racial disparity in upper level management on the force is even more pronounced. Whites hold 94 higher level jobs, compared to seven Blacks, seven Asians, five Hispanics, three Native Americans, and two Filipinos.

"When you have an officer who's responding to your home and they look like you and understand you, you will be more comfortable with that officer,” Sacramento Police Captain Kathy Lester said.

Lester, who has been a cop for more than 20 years, helps monitor the department's recruiting efforts.

Captain Lester says part of the problem is that recruiting is hampered by the lack of trust for police and the recruiting pool.

"We need to increase our applicant pool in order to get more people through the process," she told FOX40.

Getting the force to reflect the community it serves hasn’t happened yet, Lester says her department is aware there’s an issue and is making strides.

The department says they are trying to recruit a younger more diverse group of future officers. Current programs in place include the Magnet School Program, Cadet Program and Run with a Police Officer.