To the editor:
Well, we have the subject of statistics and police hiring practices. It appears that because of the surge of minorities within the local population pool are not reflected within the ranks of the law enforcement agencies the local minority leaders say there is a disconnect between those populations and the police agencies.
These minority leaders then go on to say that this causes danger, misunderstanding, lack of trust and reluctance to assist the police in criminal investigations. This need not be the case as the law is the law for everyone and public duty dictates that the law be supported by law-abiding citizens.
As for minorities needed in decision-making processes I think it is more important to have the best qualified people making those decisions. Their diversity makeup should not trump quality of performance. Let me put it this way. If your spouse was undergoing serious surgery would you elect the surgeon that was accepted into med school on his/her qualifications or on an issue of med school diversity?
The recent article in another paper is all about statistics and says nothing that would indicate these police departments are discriminating in any of their personnel actions regarding hiring or promotions. If this had been the case I am sure that it would have been brought to the fore by now. It is not happening, it is not there.
It appears that we are seeking a solution for a nonexistent problem.
There are reasons, perhaps, that more qualified minorities do not seek employment with a law enforcement agency. One may be criminal record. I see nothing in the statistics now on the table what those numbers are. Second, it is often the case that a minority officer would be seen as a sellout. If the minority leaders would be more adamant in their communities to support the efforts of law enforcement, perhaps some of the stigma attached to minority officers within their community would dissipate.
Successful law enforcement is not solely the prerogative of police agencies. It is married to the will and culture of its society to shun those that are unlawful. In some communities being unlawful or having a prison record gives one "street creds." The cycle of violence starts within the community and it is the community that has the most influence of its effectiveness and longevity. It is not a matter of race but rather one of subculture within the minority culture.
In Lee and Collier counties we are blessed with professional, effective law enforcement. If diversity is a goal, first these agencies need to be offered the services of qualified and dedicated individuals to help fill future hiring requirements: and hiring and training begins with satisfied budgets!
The fact that all four of the law enforcement agencies here in southwest Florida are accredited by the National Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement should put to rest any thoughts of wrongdoing or lack of initiative in diversity matters with these agencies.
Joseph L. Kibitlewski, PhD.