The White House is actively encouraging law enforcement agencies to diversify their forces to reflect the communities they serve. The Leon County Sheriff’s Office is pretty close.
According to the most recent US Census estimates, Leon County is 59% white, 30% black, and 6% Hispanic. The demographics of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office pretty closely reflect those numbers. 65% are white, 33% black, and 1% Hispanic. Those number aren't perfect, and some minorities are still under-represented. But Public Information Officer Grady Jordan says the agency is actively recruiting with diversity in mind.
“And it’s not just diversity as it relates to ethnicity, it’s diversity as it relates to economic income. It relates to everything. The more people that you can get to represent the community, the better we’re going to be received, the better employees you’re going to have,” he said.
Grady adds the agency must be diverse in order to interact with the public.
“Sometimes victims only want to talk to certain people. So being diverse is very beneficial in our agency, and in law enforcement in general,” he said.
Advocates say hiring minority officers is an important way to establish trust and legitimacy. But it’s not a panacea. The White House recommends law enforcement should engage the community, and not just police it.
Clarification: The above statistics apply to the Leon County Sheriff's Office at large. The most recent statistics on the agency's sworn law enforcement are as follows: Caucasian 84.4%, African American 12.3%, Asian Pacific Islander 0.4%, Hispanic 1.2%, Native American 0.4%, Other 1.2%.