St Louis suburb where Michael Brown


You work in  human resources for Ferguson MO, the St Louis suburb where Michael Brown was killed and there have been months of protest. (Note: you do not have to do research on the city to write this paper.)

You are tasked with re-creating the police force to make it more reflective of the community – and to do it legally – meaning recruiting in effective places, asking questions in interviews that are legally appropriate, administering applicant tests that are legal etc.   Assume that an Affirmative Action plan would be appropriate.  (See my notes on a legal AA plan)

This exercise presents you with a situation you might encounter as an HR professional designing a recruitment exercise in the public sector; the objective is to shape your workforce to maximize its effectiveness while minimizing the risk of litigation arising from a recruitment program that will be controversial.

For purposes of this exercise Ferguson is a medium-sized city of approximately 1 million people. Approximately 50% of the city’s residents are African American and 10% of other ethnic minorities.   The police department is 85% white.

The Police Department would like to increase minority representation in the ranks of the Department, if possible. The Commission has asked the city HR department for which you work to design a recruitment campaign and hiring plan that will achieve its goals of increasing minority representation in the police department.

You should describe your recruitment and hiring plan in a 4-5 page paper. Consider the following questions:


  • Think about the job description you would post: What would be the essential elements of the job in context of police officers’ duty and the history in this specific community?
  • Create a job application that would satisfy the essential elements of the position.  List  10 questions you would want answered either through the application or in the employment interview. Consider which questions are legal and which cannot be part of the application.  To be clear: write 10  questions you would want answered, legal or illegal, then tell me what questions would probably not pass legal muster and why.
  • List the tests you would require of applicants. (Minimum of 6 tests)
  • Explain how you would attempt to increase minority representation in the department without risking litigation.
  • Include an Affirmative Action plan. See my notes on the necessary elements of a legal Affirmative Action plan.

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