When the St. Louis County police posted pictures on social media to praise the accomplishments of its detectives, the department was slammed for its obvious lack of diversity.
John Bowman, president of St. Louis County chapter of the NAACP, said of the picture: "When I saw that picture I said immediately wait what's missing here… oh nobody of color."
"That picture says to the obvious eye that St. Louis County is made up in a homogenous way and does not have inclusion," Bowman added, stating that he had received multiple calls about the picture shortly after it was posted.
"We have a serious problem with diversity in our police department. There's no way of getting around that," he stated.
However, some maintained that the focus should be on the department’s 94%homicide clearance rate in 2019, an unprecedented feat.
"It's a shame that what they accomplished is now the backstory.... that doesn't negate the work that these detectives have done," Matt Crecelius, the business manager for the St. Louis County police union, said.
Crecelius did admit that the department had a diversity problem, and stated that it partly stemmed from years of recruitment failure.
However, he maintained that people were missing the big picture in their criticism.
"The community in St. Louis County doesn't care what these detectives skin is they care that they get justice for their loved ones," he said.
Bowman maintained that he wasn’t discrediting the detectives’ work.
“I just wonder if that was a department with all African Americans taking pictures like that how would the public react,” he stated.
The St. Louis County Police Department’s public information officer sent the following statement to 5 On Your Side:
"Our clearance rate is definitely higher than the national and statewide numbers, however, I do not have those statistics. The importance of this story lies in our victims and their families and the closure we provide for them. The obvious fact is that our detectives do an incredible job every day building relationships within our communities, regardless of race, culture, religion, or sexual preference.
“Those relationships must be established in order to gain the community’s trust in obtaining information used to build cases in arresting and convicting the individuals responsible for the most violent crimes occurring in our neighborhoods. We are working hard to improve the diversity both on our department and within our specialized units and will continue to work toward that while working hard for our community to reduce and solve crime."
Sources: America Now