Diversify the Public Safety Departments

Our City Police and Fire Departments need to recruit from our local community to naturally reflect the diverse makeup of our city. While this issue is often discussed from a framework of improving police relations, it is also a critical issue for the success of our efforts to reduce crime.

We must redouble our recruitment from within the city, and work with UC Davis, CSU Sacramento, and Los Rios Community Colleges to career track students towards law enforcement and fire service. We can use high school recruitment programs, school resource officers, youth service providers, faith-based communities, and career fairs to lay out pathways to public safety careers. And we should create a home loan program to encourage police and firefighters to live inside the City of Sacramento.

Sacramento’s Fire Department is currently reviewing adding a Recruitment, Outreach, and Diversity hiring officer — which has been requested by our firefighters. This is a good first step towards diversifying the department, while helping to effectively recruit highly qualified staff into positions cut during the recession.

At the same time, we must review policies and procedures that unintentionally limit engagement for some groups, for example: ensuring that policies regarding headwear and facial hair do not preclude or discourage otherwise qualified Sikh members of our community from joining the police force.