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Civil rights group calling for diversity

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BATON ROUGE - The NAACP is calling for more diversity in the Baton Rouge police department. The civil rights group says the makeup of the police force should directly reflect the population, and are asking for more African Americans and women to be hired to fight crime.

"To ensure that we're fair and we're just and that we do see a reflection of our community in the body of people that are staffed," said Metro Council Member Ronnie Edwards.

The city population, almost 55 percent black, and 39 percent white. Of the 682 police officers, 471 are white, 200 are black and 11 are classified as other races, according to data requested by WBRZ from the city.

Last month, BRPD welcomed a class of 30 men and women to the Police Academy. The group, the NAACP says isn't as diverse as it could be.

"We are unified behind the police department, but we want the police department to reflect the changing demographics, and the need for it to be diverse within our community," said NAACP Director Kwane Asante.

In a statement released by Mayor-President Kip Holden, the Mayor says the police department is active in seeking out the best recruits possible, and that a diverse work force is a top priority in his administration.

The NAACP says it will also investigate claims of racism inside the police department.

"I've seen many African American's and women say they've been discriminated against and basically nothing has been done about it," said Metro Council Member Denise Marcelle.

Interim Chief Carl Dabadie plans on meeting with NAACP to address these diversity issues, in the near future.


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