WAAY 31 learned more about the Huntsville Police Department and its efforts to expand diversity.
The city told us 19% of its sworn officers are minorities, an increase of 5% during the past five years. The department said diversity is a top priority and it's always working to recruit people of all races and cultures.
Huntsville Police Officer Paul Nordan is the department's full time recruiter, and he told me he works to bring a diverse group of officers to the Police Academy.
"We are actually working hard to build diversity in the department to make the department reflect the city and the diversity in the city of Huntsville," he said.
The department currently has 682 employees. Of those employees, 182 are women and 24% are minority races.
"This is the community these officers are going to serve. We want them to be embedded in the community. We want our citizens to feel comfortable with the officers that are serving them," he explained.
Nordan told WAAY 31 the current academy has a diverse group of cadets, and they're all committed to becoming officers.
"If you want to be a law enforcement officer in this day in age, you're doing it for the right reasons. You're doing it because you want to do this kind of work. We're getting more quality maybe not as much quantity," he explained.
Nordan said the department has an 18-week academy that has even higher thresholds than the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training. He explained that attracts people from not only the Tennessee Valley but also all across North Alabama.
"The academy is designed to stress them mentally physically obviously this is a stressful job. We want them to be able to react better and more professionally in situations where they may be under mental and physical stress," he said.
Police Chief Mark McMurray released the following the statement:
“Huntsville Police is committed to having a workforce that reflects the diversity of the community we serve. We’re proud if our progress in creating a more diverse department and we’ll continue our efforts to attract people of all races and cultures to consider a career in law enforcement.”
The department also released the following diversity stats to WAAY 31:
HPD Diversity 2020
- 40% of the HPD Command Staff is racially diverse (3 Black and 1 Hispanic)
- 19% of sworn police officers are racially diverse, an increase of about 5% in the past 5 years.
- 35% of non-uniformed police personnel are racially diverse.
- 24% of the total HPD workforce is more racially diverse.
Chart Courtesy Huntsville Police