Since the shooting in Ferguson among the fallout is that many cities and towns in the state do not have many, if any, African-Americans on their police forces. It could be said that in communities where the majority of residents are African-Americans, there generally speaking is mistrust of the police.
There are many reasons for this, with the town or city having few if any black policemen being one, but not the principal one. Rather the mistrust goes much deeper. The jobless rate is high, the educational level is not what it should be and the crime rate is high. The murder rate also is high, African-Americans killing African-Americans for the most part. In general, there is little or no respect for authority.
Attorney General Chris Koster plans to try to do something about the lack of black policemen and women. He will hold two workshops, one in St. Louis and one in Kansas City, Oct. 1 and 2, to address the challenge of low minority participation in the state law enforcement agencies. Police chiefs, school administrators, students, community and neighborhood leaders, and guidance counselors will be invited.
It is felt if the police agencies more accurately reflect the diversity of their communities, there will be improved respect for officers and the law in general. It would help.
But it’s going to take a long-term approach to solving this problem. Attitudes must change. Respect for the law and those enforcing it must begin in the home. Improved family life must accompany the training for respect of authority. Examples must be set to motivate the young to want to be a member of a law enforcement agency.
The effort must be made. Perhaps the attorney general’s bringing of people together to talk about the problems will be successful in moving toward solutions. Our governor and members of the General Assembly should get behind a program to motivate the young minority members of a community to desire to serve in law enforcement.