OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma City police recruiters are reaching out to communities across the city to fill the department’s diversity gap. The new Chief of Police Wade Gourley started an initiative to hire minorities to reflect the citizens officers serve. 

Whether it is a traffic stop or a crime scene, the landscape of the city’s police department will soon see changes.

“We service a rapidly growing and a very diverse community,” said Sgt. Chris Brown, Oklahoma City Police Department’s recruiting unit.

Sergeant Brown is working with community leaders to hold recruiting events focused on race and gender.

“So, we’ll have this event that is specifically to African American,” said Brown. “We’ll have events coming up that are specific to Latinos, we’ll have events that are specific to female.” 

Brown said currently minorities represent approximately 17 percent of the force. He realizes it will take time and work to diversify the department.

“We’ve got some ground to make up,” said Brown. “We’ve got to be aware of where we are in order to know where we’re going.”

The recruiting unit has set a goal for the first phase of the initiative by reaching out to the city's African American community.

“We would love to have 100 or more applicants commit to the hiring process by the October the first date that we have,” said Brown.

He believes that number is an attainable goal.

“We’re gonna rely on our citizens to help us to solve this hurdle,” said Brown.

The first recruiting event is set for 6 p.m. August 20, at the Metro Tech Stem building in Northeast Oklahoma City. Officers will be on hand to answer questions and talk about the hiring and training process.