CLOVIS, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – An investigation into ethnic diversity at the Clovis Police Department has found that the department has made efforts to recruit people from different backgrounds – but the results are not up to standard, according to the Fresno County Civil Grand Jury’s report.
The report published Monday stemmed from a complaint received in late 2020, in which officials say a citizen requested a review of the Clovis Police Department’s hiring and staffing practices as they relate to ethnic diversity. The complaint also suggested a possibility of systemic racism due to the number of African American officers in the department.
The subsequent investigation established that the Clovis Police Department has made improvements to increase diversity. The Chief of Clovis Police cites the Citizens Diversity Committee, formed in 2019, but adds that he wants to dig deeper into the central issue.
“Is there something in the process that we’re doing as a department that’s restricting people from different ethnicities from working here? We haven’t found that,” said Chief Curt Fleming. “We’ve just found that we need to get out there more and sell ourselves and tell people who we are and that they’re welcome to work here in Clovis.”
The report stated that many of those interviewed perceived the Clovis Police Department as unwelcoming to candidates of color, resulting in fewer applying to work at the department.
The report lists a number of findings and recommendations provided to the Clovis Police Department, including that the department should reflect the demographics of the Fresno metropolitan area and that it expands its reach for recruiting purposes (such as in the Los Angeles area or the Bay Area) – both no later than March 31, 2023.
In response to the Grand Jury’s report, officials with the Clovis Police Department say they have “self-identified the importance of recruiting and retaining officers from diverse ethnic backgrounds and formed a Citizens Diversity Committee to assist us with our goals” – adding that this is a challenging time for police departments as fewer candidates overall are applying to become officers.