When police departments are operating under a national spotlight, it’s easy to forget how many are struggling.
This week, Chicago’s city council is set to discuss a bill that would expand the city’s police force to include more officers of color.
The bill has been championed by Rep. Kwame Raoul, a former Black Lives Matter activist who is a member of the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee.
It would also allow police departments to hire more nonwhite officers, with the city of Chicago serving as a model.
It’s a move that’s seen as an important step toward building a more diverse police force, with racial and ethnic minorities and people of color disproportionately affected by violence and brutality.
“It’s time for the city to stop putting all its eggs in one basket,” Raoul said in a statement.
“This bill is not about racial bias or any other type of discrimination.
It is about building a better Chicago.”
The bill, which has been endorsed by President Barack Obama and endorsed by police unions, would require police departments with more than 30 sworn officers to hire at least 10 people of nonwhite ethnicity.
That would require more diversity in policing and other services.
Currently, there are only two officers of non-white origin in the Chicago Police Department, a city official told The Washington Examiner.
The city of Dallas, for example, has three non-whites in the police force.
Chicago’s proposed legislation would also require that the department’s hiring plan include racial and economic diversity, with an emphasis on recruiting and retaining diverse candidates.
“If Chicago were to adopt this legislation, then the City of Chicago would be in a position to offer a better, more diverse and more inclusive future for Chicago’s residents,” the bill states.
In 2016, Chicago police killed a man in an ambush.
Raoul’s bill would also provide the city with additional funding for police training and equipment, and expand overtime hours.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the bill also would create a fund to help police departments hire more minority officers.
“Chicago needs to do more than just look at the racial disparities, it needs to act on them,” Raouul said in the statement.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said that Chicago is the city most prone to police violence, with at least 15,000 officers killed in the city since the start of the year.
“The fact is that Chicago’s cops are just as likely to be shot as anyone else in the United States, and the city is the second most violent place in the country,” Emanuel said last month, after an officer was shot dead by a white man.
The Chicago Police Officers Association, a union representing the city police force and the officers who are paid to patrol the streets, issued a statement Monday in support of the bill, calling it a “good first step.”
“It is time for Chicago to make good on the promise of increasing police diversity,” the statement said.
“Our members are looking forward to the implementation of this legislation as soon as possible, and look forward to working with the mayor and the mayor’s office to make it happen.”
The Chicago city council has scheduled a public hearing on the bill next Tuesday.
Chicago police union president Michael DeCarlo also said in February that he supported Raoul and his bill.
“I’m supportive of this, and I believe it’s a good idea,” DeCarlos told The Chicago Tribune.
“We want to see more diversity.
We want to work to make sure that everybody gets equal pay, equal opportunities.”
The city’s proposed hiring plan also includes a plan to provide training for officers of all races and ethnicities.
It also includes expanding overtime hours to more officers and requiring more diversity training for the department.
“As a result of this proposal, we will be able to hire even more officers to keep up with this growing number of officers,” Raoult said in his statement.
The Illinois Democratic Party did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This post has been updated to reflect that Raoul is a Democrat.