It’s often said the beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people, and we think this applies to law enforcement agencies as well. It’s important to note diversity is not just bound to gender and race, but also entails differences in things like religion, life experiences, languages and economic status.
Conversations about the benefits of diversity in the workplace are nothing new and there is proof that having a diverse workforce leads to tangible benefits.
- Helps Build Community Trust
We are lucky to have a community that supports us, but we know that’s not always the case. In many communities, the perceptions toward law enforcement can be overwhelmingly negative. Officers and deputies are often seen as outsiders or as a threat, rather than being there to serve and protect the community.
Part of this negative perception can be changed through further diversifying law enforcement. Having representatives from a range of communities and cultures within a law enforcement department helps all community members feel included and seen.
- Exposes Employees to New Perspective and Viewpoints
You have a strong influence you have on the people you work with – both positively and negative. In fact, your co-workers can actually be some of the best teachers, without even realizing it.
When you’re often in the same room with the same people, you’ll become aware of different customs and cultural differences, which can open your mind to fresh perspectives and expand your knowledge. It also forces you to challenge any negative stereotypes and biases you may have had before.
- Better Communication and Decision Making
When you have a diverse group of employees working together, you may notice everyone will have a different approach and attitude toward a problem. This leads to better, more educated decision making and drives innovation. According to one study, diverse teams actually make better decisions than non-diverse teams up to 87 percent of the time.
Having members with a wide range of backgrounds within your organization normalizes the attitudes and behaviors of citizens coming from those backgrounds. This gives those who work in law enforcement a greater understanding of the people they serve.
Law enforcement has a critical need for diversity because the more exposure seen in the workforce, the bigger the voice they will have in the community to make it a happy and safe environment for everyone. If you’re interested in helping expand the dynamic, check out the current opportunities at the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department.