Friday, September 19, 2014

Will Ferndale Truly Represent Diversity?

  This editorial appeared in the Oakland Press and Daily Tribune on September 18, 2014
  With the recent retirement incentive program announced by Ferndale for its police department that could result in several new younger police officers being hired, it is a good time to finally begin to bring diversity to that important part of the city.   Ferndale is a city that promotes, celebrates, and embraces diversity, and yet its police officers are still all white and mostly male.  The City Council and city administration ought to follow other progressive cities and hire officers who will reflect the diversity of the people who live, shop, and do business in Ferndale.

     In the eleven years I spent on Council, we regularly asked the police chiefs to hire more women and minorities but were always given reasons why that could not happen, be it civil service rules or testing procedures.   But in 2014, it is time to no longer accept such excuses.  Ferndale has always had a love affair with its police force.  We appreciate them for the important and exceptional work they do.   We have also had a long line of very conservative police chiefs, even as the city became more Democratic, more progressive, and more diverse.
     With a large gay population, and up to 20% of its population now made up of Blacks, Latinos, Arabic and Asian Americans, our police officers should finally begin to reflect that make up.  It will make our police force  even stronger and more effective.  All the cities around us have done this, and it time for Ferndale to walk the walk, as well as talk the talk.  I hope City Council, the City Manager, and the Police Chief will make this happen.