Racial Diversity Isn't Only Thing Lacking in Ferguson PD

By Michael Nam


Racial Diversity Isn't Only Thing Lacking in Ferguson PDUnderstandably, the Justice Department focused heavily on the racial disparity in its recent, and damning, investigation of the Ferguson Police Department. However, the report also details a glaring gender gap in the personnel makeup of the police force. In footnotes under a section titled “Ferguson’s Lack of a Diverse Police Force Further Undermines Community Trust,” the report points out the striking lack of women police officers.

“While the emphasis in Ferguson has been on racial diversity, FPD also, like many police agencies, has strikingly disparate gender diversity,” the report said. “In Ferguson, approximately 55% of residents are female, but FPD has only four female officers.”

The investigators go on to relate that they “received many complaints about FPD’s lack of gender diversity as well,” a problem that potentially stems from the footnote immediately beneath the previous note.

“While not the focus of our investigation, the information we reviewed indicated that Ferguson’s efforts to retain qualified female and Black officers may be compromised by the same biases we saw more broadly in the department,” DOJ investigators wrote. “In particular, while the focus of our investigation did not permit us to reach a conclusive finding, we found evidence that FPD tolerates sexual harassment by male officers, and has responded poorly to allegations of sexual harassment that have been made by female officers.”

Sexual harassment has been shown to derail or greatly discourage women from careers that tend to have a tolerance for such behavior. In a recent Cosmopolitan story about workplace sexual harassment, Noreen Farrell, Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates, elaborates. “If you’re forced out of a job because you’re sick of your boss making comments, it impacts your earnings and your ability to get promotions,” she said. “People tend to leave work rather than have to put up with it.”

The Ferguson report indicates that there may be a great deal more to be done to combat biased police practices in the municipality. The footnotes appear to hint at a problem as deeply entrenched as the police department’s racial bias, and the importance of the report goes beyond demanding racially diverse hiring changes alone. Rather, the transformation of policing in Ferguson requires a “broader reform effort” that includes addressing the gender imbalance as well.

Latest News

multi race business woman

New Report Shows Significant Increase in Female and Black Representation in the Executive Boardroom

Diversity and inclusion appear to be successfully increasing among America’s largest and most successful companies. The finding comes from a new report conducted by executive recruiting firm Crist Kolder Associates as part of its review of DEI representation in executive offices. Ariel Zilber of the New York Post reported that…

Taco Bell

Taco Bell Creates Business School To Help Underrepresented Groups Become Franchise Owners

Taco Bell and the popular fast-food chain’s owner Yum! Brands have entered the DEI arena with a new business school designed to help people of all backgrounds — and people of color in particular — advance into restaurant ownership. Jonathan Maze of Restaurant Business reported that “a select group of…

LGBTQ dog tags

US Government Will Now Allow Veterans To Identify As Trans on Veteran Affairs Medical Records

In another giant leap forward for LGBTQ+ rights and equality in the military, the federal government has announced that military veterans can now officially identify as trans in their official medical records. Brody Levesque of the Los Angeles Blade reported that Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough has confirmed that veterans…

Comcast NBCUniversal’s NBCU Academy Partners With 13 New Academic Institutions

Originally published at corporate.comcast.com. Comcast NBCUniversal ranked No. 6 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   NBCU Academy, NBCU News Group’s multi-platform journalism training and development program, significantly expanded its reach to 30 institutions by adding 13 new partners, NBCU News Group Chairman Cesar Conde announced. The new…