Peoria Police and Fire Departments Behind on Minority Hiring Goals

Jul 24, 2019

The Peoria Police and Fire Departments are not meeting their own goals for hiring more minorities. 

While approximately 30 percent of the city's residents are African-American, only 12 percent of fire department personnel are black. Of 175 personnel, there are 30 minorities and women. 

Peoria Fire Department Division Chief Tony Ardis said the issue is also evident when future promotions are considered. There are 11 African-American fire captains, but Ardis told city council members last night that retirements may come before promotions for many of the captains. 

"Of the 11, eight of 'em have over 23 years on the job. And so that's a concern with regard to putting protected class people in a position to take that next step to whether it's battalion chief of whatever it is in command staff," Ardis said. 

Nineteen percent of the 208 police employees are minorities, short of the 25 percent goal post set for this point in time. 

Peoria Police Chief Loren Marion told the city council last night that recruitment efforts have been effective in attracting minorities. 

"And when you look at the top 16 candidates, we pulled off that list to go through the process, 62.5 percent are protected class and 56 percent are minority," Marion said. 

The 16 candidates won't go through training until the first of the new year.