MINORITY EMPLOYMENT WITHIN THE LAWRENCE CO. SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, IS THERE REASON FOR CONCERN?
When Sheriff Gene Mitchell took office in January 2007 after completing his staff minority employment within the sheriff's department was at 4% (2 employees) out of more than 50 employees. Today almost 12 years later the sheriff's department is still at 4% with only 2 minority employees. One is an SRO assigned to R.A. Hubbard High School a predominantly black school. The other is an administrative assistant with the Lawrence Co. Drug Task force and is in a locked trailer behind an 8-foot wood fence. There are no minority or black employees in any of the major divisions of the sheriff's office Patrol, Investigations, Corrections, and Communications. There also are no minorities in the ADMINISTRATIVE division. The job requirement for these positions at entry level according to the county handbook is at least 19 years of age (21 for deputy or investigator), have no felony convictions and possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent, for a deputy also a valid drivers license. My question is are there not any minorities who meet these job requirements interested in working for the Sheriffs Department?
A normal reply is no one applies. My question is are they aware of openings? How is someone suppose to know when the Sheriffs Department has an opening or is updating their applicant pool? How does the sheriff's department advertise openings or when they are accepting applications? They do not advertise in the local paper and jobs are not posted on their official web page or social media sites or participate in local job fairs. Job openings are basically kept secret. What does the Sheriff's Department do to reach out to the minority communities to try and improve minority employment?
Over the last 12 years, a few minorities have been hired as SRO/Deputy but all only stayed a few months before leaving. The last minority who was not retained at the end of his probationary period sued the Sheriff overpay discrepancy between himself and a white deputy with lesser years of experience. But the department has never really got above the 4%. What is the atmosphere within the sheriff's department for minority employees?