Missouri Highway Patrol struggles to hire diverse force


Highway Patrol cars at the scene of a car accident.

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ST. LOUIS – The Missouri State Highway Patrol has historically been made up largely of white males, and progress toward change has been slow.

St. Louis Public Radio cites statistics showing that 94 percent of state troopers are white and only about 5 percent of officers on the road are women.

Patrol leaders say they want a diverse force, something especially important in an era when police-involved shootings of black people continue to generate attention. St. Louis is still facing protests three weeks after a judge acquitted former police officer Jason Stockley in the 2011 shooting death of a black suspect.

Patrol recruitment director Roger Whittler says efforts are in place to bring in more African-American and female troopers, but obstacles include a history of racial tension between police and minority communities.

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