Black officers vastly underrepresented on Stockton police force

It’s been 10 months since voters approved the three-quarter cent Measure A sales tax, the centerpiece goal of which was to increase the size of the police force by 120 officers over three years. Today, one new officer and three new academy-bound trainees were introduced at police headquarters.

One of the academy-bound trainees, 30-year-old Travell Williams, will be one of eight black officers when he is sworn in — out of 363 officers. That’s 2.2 percent of the force. According to the U.S. Census, 12 percent of Stockton’s 300,000 residents are black. If the police department mirrored the city’s demographics, 48 officers would be black.

Chief Eric Jones acknowledged today his department “has a long way to go” in terms of reflecting Stockton’s black and Southeast Asian communities.

“First and foremost, we have to have qualified applicants,” Jones said. “Then, we want to better reflect our community’s diversity.”

The department took a baby step in that direction today.

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