The rate of applicants for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department per 1,000 residents
White residents are 16% more likely to submit job applications to the Police Department than black residents.
A score of 100 represents racial equity, meaning there are no racial disparities in outcomes. The lower the Equity Score, the greater the disparity.
For Police Applicants, a score of 100 — a score reflecting racial equity — would mean black and white residents are equally likely to apply to become St. Louis police officers.
What does this indicator measure?
Police Applicants measures the rate of applicants for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department per 1,000 residents. In 2017, a total of 846 people submitted applications, for a rate of 2.7 per 1,000 residents.
Police Academy Applicants analysis
Police applicants per 1,000 residents in St. Louis City.
|Applicants per 1,000 residents
|1.156 to 1
Data Source: St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, 2017; American Community Survey 1-year estimates, 2016.
Data Note: 26 applicants did not specify their race. To calculate the "other minority" application rate, we used the 2016 American Community Survey 1-year estimate that St. Louis city is home to 30,627 residents of Hispanic, Native American and Asian descent.
What does this analysis mean?
White residents are 16% more likely to submit applications to the Police Department than black residents. White individuals are the most likely to apply to become police officers (2.9 applications per 1,000 residents) as compared to any other racial group. Black individuals are slightly less likely to apply than whites (2.5 applications per 1,000 residents). Other minorities — individuals who identify as Hispanic, Native American, or Asian — are the least likely to apply (2.0 applications per 1,000 residents). From this group, the City received 60 applications.
If application rates were equitable, there would be an additional 57 applications from black residents. The small disparity in the rate at which black and white individuals are applying to be police officers does not explain the larger disparities that appear later in the police recruiting pipeline outcomes (see Academy Retention and Police Department Representation).
Why do Police Applicants matter?
A police department that reflects the communities it serves is more likely to operate with trust, accountability, and cultural awareness. In order to attract the best qualified candidates, police departments, like all workplaces, should be viewed by both black and white candidates as fair, equitable, and attractive places to work. For the police force to become more representative of the community, more black candidates would need to apply to join the police force and black applicants would need a higher rate of success in becoming police officers.
Which Calls to Action from the Ferguson Commission report are linked with this indicator?
Though there is not a specific Call to Action about police demographics, a police force that reflects the communities it serves supports the overall vision of a culturally competent, community-oriented, and trusted law enforcement system. Police reforms to build trust between communities and police officers are central to the Ferguson Commission report.
Questions for further investigation
- Why is there a racial disparity in Police Applicants?
- What can St. Louis do to reduce racial disparities in Police Applicants?
- What initiatives are currently underway to reduce racial disparities in Police Applicants?
How can I learn more about this issue?
The research of Dr. Elizabeth Linos, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, focuses on how to improve government performance and service delivery, with a specific emphasis on recruiting, retaining, and motivating public servants. She recently shared the results of a field experiment conducted in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which showed that simple changes to the wording of job advertisements could increase minority applicants to their police force.