Despite Tulsa’s Hispanic population booming over the past couple decades, only 5% of TPD’s force, 41 officers, identify as Hispanic. At 17.2% of the city population, Hispanic-identifying residents are the largest single minority group.
One bright area in recruitment and retention for TPD is among its American Indian representation on the force. The 10.7% share of the American Indians on the police force is more than double the population share of Native residents in the city limits, which is 4.5.
Tulsa Police Officer Jesse Guardiola, employed in workforce development, said short- and long-term goals affect minority recruitment.
Short-term, the department has been all about meeting with minorities on their turf, Guardiola said.
“For years we would just go to career fairs and talk to people,” he said.
TPD recruiters also go to historically Black colleges and Hispanic-serving institutions to seek out potential officer candidates, Guardiola said.
“It’s about relationships,” he said. “And community policing, at the very essence, is about relationships, so why should recruitment be different?”
Recruiters give in-classroom talks and sometimes even teach as adjunct instructors, Guardiola said.