Police, fire departments in Baton Rouge now diverse enough for federal government
BATON ROUGE – Nearly 40 years after the federal government had to amend how Baton Rouge hires police and firefighters, the city said Tuesday it was removed from a long-standing consent decree.
After finding discriminatory hiring practices, federal authorities monitored the hiring process in the city for four decades. Recently, a U.S. District Court judge found the police and fire departments were now in “substantial compliance” of federal hiring and promoting laws.
“This is welcomed news for our fire and police departments and for the City of Baton Rouge. My administration has worked hard to promote inclusive hiring practices that have helped us meet workforce demands,” Mayor Sharon Weston Broome said in a statement. “[The police and fire chiefs] have worked tirelessly to create departments that more closely reflect the diversity of our great city, and I applaud them for this tremendous achievement.”
The consent decree dates back to the 1980s when the federal government investigated complaints in many Louisiana cities.
The Baton Rouge Fire Department released its employee makeup, reporting of the 571 firefighters with the department in 2018, 143 are African American men, six are men of another race, 393 are white males, 20 are white women and nine are African American females. A fresh group of firefighters start the academy next week and of the 17, nine are minorities, the department said.
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