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Councilor Campbell Wants Diversity in Public Safety

Councilor Andrea Campbell (District 4) has called for a hearing to explore and recommend diversity initiatives in the City of Boston’s public safety agencies.

In an ongoing effort, Councilor Campbell reopened the discussion regarding the need for racial and gender diversity in public safety.

“We know that diversity in our public service jobs allows government and our leaders to better serve our residents, specifically in our public safety agencies” she said. “It builds trust between community and public safety officials, it creates more inclusive cultures in our department, and lastly…it offers our residents access to high-paying jobs.”

According to a 2019 study from the Boston Development and Planning Agency Research Division Analysis, more than half of Boston residents are female, and on the race/ethnicity breakdown more than half are people of color. However, in Councilor Campbell’s diversity report, it outlines that the majority of positions held in public safety departments are overwhelmingly white, male, and dominantly English speaking.

The data suggests that the demographics of public safety agencies do not reflect the communities in which they serve.

Since 2018 when Councilor Campbell originally introduced her proposal, the statistics gathered haven’t deviated much. She expressed concern over that fact, urging that the City of Boston take a more comprehensive approach to increasing the number of women and people of color in public safety departments.

Within her recommendations, she requested transparency about the problem by allowing the public access to the data. She also suggested that a consistent definition of diversity be identified after discovering that many of the agencies she communicated with all had differing ideas on what it meant to be diverse.

Councilor Campbell offered up several more recommendations, mainly aimed at resourcing and promoting recruitment efforts that target a more diverse group of candidates as well as changing the culture of the agencies to be more inclusive.