Jul 8, 2022 - News

Boston city workforce remains less diverse than its population

Public records requested by an advocacy group show the Boston Police have barely made progress diversifying the uniformed police force in years. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Public records requested by an advocacy group show the Boston Police have barely made progress diversifying the uniformed police force in years. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

A legal advocacy group wants Boston Mayor Michelle Wu to enforce strict diversity training standards and audit multiple city agencies to determine whether they're making any progress hiring a more diverse workforce.

Driving the news: Lawyers for Civil Rights used public records requests submitted in January to determine how much several city agencies have been able to diversify their staffs.

  • The group found the police department to be the most distressing.
  • The BPD uniformed workforce was 65% white in 2016. In 2022, BPD is 64.9% white, while Boston's nonwhite population grew to nearly half the city's residents over that time.

Zoom in: Other agencies don't reflect the city they serve either.

  • Black, Latinx and Asian Americans make up about 14%, 9% and 3% of uniformed emergency medical services personnel, respectively, while the city's population is around 22%, 19.5% and 9.7% from those groups.
  • The Boston Fire Department didn't respond to the records request at all.

What they're saying: "Overall, the agencies' demographic disclosures reveal an alarming trend of significant underrepresentation among women and people of color within the municipal workforce," said a statement from LCR outlining the records the group collected.

In a letter to Wu outlining their findings, LCR asked the mayor to hire an independent monitor to audit all municipal agencies and report back to City Hall to assess progress and give recommendations to make the workforce more diverse.

  • The group wants diversity, equity and inclusion training standards to be strictly enforced.
  • The letter also encourages Wu to expand linguistic diversity in the city workforce.

Wu's office did not respond to Axios' request for comment.

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