JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After George Floyd died at the hands of a Minneapolis police officers, protesters across the nation have sought an end to police brutality.
One concern is racial disparity, which is typically analyzed as an imbalance in the distribution of power, economic resources and opportunities.
According to the Census Bureau, 30% of Jacksonville is African American. Of police officers working in the city, the data shows African Americans make up 12%.
Data provided by the Sheriff’s Office shows that there are 1,274 police officers -- the entry-level rank for the department. Among men, 789 of those are white, 157 are black or African American.
Juanita Dixon, president of the Jacksonville Brotherhood of Police for Minority Officers, is concerned because the number of black officers is below the the population of black people in the city. According to the Census Bureau, Jacksonville is made up of people who are 31% African American and 58% white.
“If you look at the make up of the community and then look at the make up the of the police force and move your way up into administrators and supervisors, there is a disparity,” Dixon said. “I think it’s something that definitely needs to be improved.”
Dixon said that over the last 40 years, her organization has received complaints from minority officers about being denied promotions at JSO.
Data from the Sheriff’s Office shows that at the rank of sergeant, black or African American men make up 12 of 172 male sergeants, or 6.9%. White male sergeants make up 151 of the 172 male sergeants, or 87.7%.
The same data shows that at the rank of lieutenant, four of 60 black or African American men make up the lieutenants at JSO, or 6.6%. Of the same rank, 50 out of 60 -- or 83.3% -- are white males. (See full table below)
“We have to make sure these individuals have every opportunity for promotion and every opportunity for appointments just like anybody else,” Dixon said.
News4Jax on Monday asked for an interview with Sheriff Mike Williams about the data and the department’s efforts to recruit more diverse employees, which was declined. On Thursday, JSO sent this statement:
Data provided by Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office
The list below does not include anyone in the JSO Department of Corrections, and it’s important to note that the assistant chief, chiefs and directors are appointed position.
|Hispanic or Latino of any race||1|
|Black or African American||1|
|Black or African American||1||1|
|American Indian of Alaskan Native||1|
|Black or African American||2||3|
American Indian or Alaskan Native
|Black or African American||4||1|
|Hispanic or Latino of any race||3|
|American Indian or Alaskan Native||1|
|Black or African American||12||4|
|Hispanic or Latino of any race||4||1|
|American Indian or Alaskan Native||3||2|
|Black or African American||157||66|
|Hispanic or Latino of any race||76||12|
|Native Hawaiian or other Pacific||2||2|
|Two or more races||4||1|