A recent article in the Yakima Herald, “Yakima Valley law enforcement must navigate obstacles to recruit minorities,” effectively explains the need for law enforcement agencies to diversify. The data in the article suggest that minority law enforcement officers underrepresent minority communities in the Yakima Valley. The U.S. Census Bureau states that Yakima’s lower valley is 84% Hispanic, the city of Yakima is 44% Hispanic and the overall Yakima County Hispanic population is around 47%. However, the law enforcement officers who patrol these areas are primarily white.
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This imbalance is taken seriously by the law enforcement agencies that represent those communities. Since winning, Yakima County Sheriff Brian Winter has opened his agency doors to Heritage interns majoring in criminal justice. More recently, the Yakima Police Department interviewed two potential interns from Heritage. Both are Hispanic, one male and one female. These agencies are aware that Heritage University is 73% female, 27% male and 64% Hispanic/Latino.
Many Heritage University criminal justice graduates would love to work in their own communities that know them and that they understand. As recommended by 2014 Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Heritage University wants to bring together law enforcement leaders, advocates, academicians, policymakers and our diverse community to advance everyone’s goal of enhanced public safety.
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