Did the Broward Sheriff Ignore a Workplace Diversity Study?
Law enforcement agencies aren't exactly known as great bastions of workplace diversity -- meaning that most of the faces you see in uniform are pale and pasty. Police forces across the country have paid a lot of lip service to idea of fixing that problem, but the stats remain pretty dismal about increasing minority presence in the cop ranks.
Some of that might be due to molasses-slow rate of change in big institutions, some indifference. A new report that's leaked out on the web suggests the last regime over at the Broward Sheriff's Office may have been guilty of the latter.
The South Florida Times has posted a 31-page report commissioned by former Sheriff Al Lamberti back in 2009. The study found 51 areas where BSO could have improved in the minority and female employee department. But the findings seem to have sat on a shelf gathering dust. County players never saw the results.
"Despite findings revealing many strong efforts and intentions, in some cases, diversity and equal opportunity are not distributed evenly and equitably throughout the organization," the report concluded.
The study found 61.9 percent of the sworn members of BSO were white, with 54 percent of the non-sworn workforce also Caucasian. African Americans comprised 54 percent of the non-sworn, women 49 percent of the same, according to the Times.
In particular, minorities were well-represented in BSO's Department of Detention, but that was about it. BSO also failed to contract with minority-owned businesses, did not have a minority recruitment plan, and didn't have many minorities in the command level.
The report laid out some options for fixing these issues, but the Times says the study never landed with the right people -- mainly the public and the county's Council for Diversity and Equal Opportunity (CDEO). It just kind of sat there.
Albert Jones, vice mayor of Dania Beach, was a Broward County commissioner when Lamberti created the CDEO. "I never got a copy of the report so I don't know what happened," he said.
Today, with a Scott Israel sitting in the big chair at BSO, the Times notes that there have been a number of positive changes in the area of minority hires and promotions. Still, it's pretty ridiculous this report didn't see light sooner.