New Report Finds Fewer Than 14% of Danville Police Officers Are Black
Danville, VA -- Fewer than 14% of Danville's police force is made up of black officers, according to a new report. And police say that has a lot to do with African American applicants not passing the reading comprehension test, in order to be considered for the position.
The report indicates that many applicants, regardless of race, are not qualified to become an officer. And according to police, more white applicants are turned away then black applicants because more white people are applying.
As we all watch the protests unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri, Lawrence Campbell sees it through a different lens.
"I think it could happen here," says Campbell.
Campbell served as a local civil rights leader in the 60s and saw protests first-hand. Now, Campbell gets worried after hearing the shocking statistics of "We don't want another Ferguson to occur in Virginia," says Campbell.
Danville Police recently released information breaking down the demographics of their applicants. In the last 7 years, they had 4,408 people apply to become an officer. However, only 678 showed up for the physical and reading comprehension testing, and 517 passed. Digging even deeper, 83% of white women and white men passed. But only 57% of black males and 45% of black females passed as well.
"The data speaks for itself," says Campbell.
Captain Dennis Haley says the potential officers also have to then go through a background check, which eliminates even more applicants.
"We always are actively recruiting, it's just finding qualified applicants that's an issue," says Haley.
Haley insists they never discriminate in the hiring process or on the streets.
Haley tells us the reading test has two parts including vocabulary and comprehension. And he says they are only required to reach a 10th grade level to pass.