The Columbus Department of Public Safety says its new police academy class is the most diverse in recent history.
There are 45 officers in the new class, 19 of whom are women or people of color. Using these figures, the Columbus Division of Police says the class has a 42% diversity rate.
Sgt. Lindsey Alli says recruiting this year was more challenging than in previous years.
“I think it’s just a combination of the George Floyd incident and all of the unrest we saw this summer, because we take applications in July every year,” Alli says. “We did see a drop off in applications from what we normally see.”
The total number of applications was down, a trend seen by law enforcement agencies across the U.S. The department said in July that 1,526 people had applied to the police academy, a 21.4% decrease from last year's pool.
However, Columbus Police say they received a higher percentage of "diverse" applicants to the department this year than it did last year. Of this year's applicants, 25.7% were African American, up from 23% in 2019.
In this year's recruiting class, there is one more white male and one less Black male compared to the class that started in July. There are no Black women in this recruiting class.
Since 2010, according to department records, Columbus Police has hired at most seven Black officers per police class.