Representative Police Service in the US

In light of recen events in the US, I couldn’t resist checking briefly US data on ethnic representativeness of the US police force. It turns out that African Americans are, on average, slightly underrepresented in the local police forces as compared to their share in the population. In 2007, some 11.9% of police officers were African American. In some municipalities, the degree of underrepresentation is considerably higher, though. In Ferguson, there are more than 50% more white officers than the respective share in the population (cf. 2012 Demographics. Profile of Military Community).

But would equal representation be enough? I guess not. For one, these kinds of jobs should pay below median wages in the US and should attract more (relatively poorer) African Americans. One indication is that in the U.S. military African Americans are actually slightly overrepresented (some 17 percent in 2012).
With such enormous levels of distrust among the African American community, it seems high time to introduce a more representative bureaucracy in US police departments.


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