An Ohio University police vehicle

OUPD Chief: We prioritize diversity in hiring

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) – The chief of the Ohio University Police Department (OUPD) said his department prioritizes diversity in their hiring process.

Diversity in the staff means increased representation for people of different backgrounds, said University Chief of Police Andrew Powers. To achieve diversity, he said the department will ensure several backgrounds and lifestyles are represented. Diversity will promote positivity within the department and the community.

“I think it raises community confidence in the department, and people feel more comfortable,” he said.

Diversity is a common theme across several police departments. Athens Chief of Police Tom Pyle also said he’d like to see greater diversity in his department by having more female representation.

“If I had my way, I’d like to have a police department with 50 percent female[s],” he said, “and then, you know, a much larger representation of diversity in the department.”

Efforts to promote a welcoming and safe environment for applicants of all backgrounds have been challenging, Pyle said. He attributed this to the lack of diversity within the Athens community.

“Athens County is a rather homogenous county,” he said. “I mean when you look around, you don’t see a lot of diversity.”

The lack of applicants is also due to law enforcement’s public perception, Pyle said. Recent events involving police nationwide have affected Athens’ recruitment.

“We’re having a hard time attracting any applicants, let alone applicants who are diverse simply because of what’s been going on the last several years with the reputation of law enforcement,” he said.

Those interested in applying for a job at the Athens Police Department can access the Athens City website.