Columnist Concerned With Chief Cantando’s Approach With Minorities
According to a recent article in the Contra Costa Times entitled “City’s police chief aims to add diversify his force,” Antioch Police Chief Allan Cantando is seeking to recruit more minority candidates. Commendable? Yes, however I find the Chief’s decision to hold meetings in Spanish at Holy Rosary Catholic church and other churches objectionable. Let religious institutions do what they do best rather than utilizing them as public forums.
The proper way to recruit minority applicants, according to Police Chief Magazine, is to engage stakeholders. Stakeholders are groups and individuals that have an interest or stake in enhancing minority recruiting and selection. Core stakeholders might include police executives, police human resource specialists, labor and union officials, city/county executives, neighborhood associations, minority and special interest groups.
Hiring should, of course, seek to reflect the ethnic and racial composition of the area. The 2010 Census Interactive Population Search for Contra Costa County shows population by ethnicity as 255,560 Hispanic or Latino, 793,465 Non-Hispanic or Latino. The county’s population by race is as follows:
American Indian/Alaska Native 6,122
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander 4,845
Identified by two or more 62,225
For the record, qualified candidates have always been welcomed on the Antioch Police force regardless of race, gender or socio-economic status. In fact, during the period July 2006-07 Antioch hired 24 police officers: 23 of the officers were male, one a female, 12 of the officers were white, 6 Hispanic, 3 black, and 3 Asian. (2 officers, 1 Hispanic and 1 white failed the department’s 16 week field training program.) My complaint at the time was the department wasn’t hiring enough women officers.
Allegations that the Antioch Police Department targeted and used excessive force against unruly black teenagers in the 2007 Gas City incident have no merit and ultimately led to the expulsion of seven Deer Valley High School students. Nor do discrimination charges by a few Section 8 tenants during the reign of Chief Jim Hyde, whose proactive approach to policing led to formation of the department’s Community Action Team (CAT) which made me feel a lot safer than I do today. In fact, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed the federal trial court’s decision in the Tuggles case finding no discrimination by the City of Antioch in its community policing efforts.