Gathering aims to boost police force diversity

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas City Police leaders say they need to maintain a diverse department to fight crime even more effectively.

The president of the Board of Police Commissioners says the 1,400-member force has never had more than about 150 African-American police officers at one time. And right now it's well below that number.

During Saturday's gathering, board members discussed how to change that because some said minority officers can better relate to the community in which they work and are more readily trusted.

"I think the challenge has been competing for quality professionals from a variety of different parts of the community and from different backgrounds," said Police Commission member Lisa Pelofsky.

Some in the community opposed today's meeting altogether. They do not believe race should play a role in hiring police officers.

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