Companies and organizations are struggling to diversify their ranks, it appears the FBI is saddled with the same problem. The national law enforcement agency has faced a recent decline in attracting and retaining minority agents, Politico reported.
FBI Director James Comey last week acknowledged the trend and insisted his agency is working to add more black and Latino special agents, intelligence analysts and other employees to its workforce. According to the most recent statistics, 4.37 percent of FBI agents are black and 6.63 percent are Latino. In comparison, white agents make of 16.07 percent of the workforce, with 8.42 percent intelligence analysts.
"Too early to say whether we’re going to be able to change the inflection of the line. Lots going on in the FBI to try and change that. I’ll probably have a better sense at the end of this year as to whether we’re seeing a change," Comey reportedly said. "Anecdotally I feel, change in that area, change in the people who are expressing interest. ... I don’t know whether that’s our reference or the show 'Quantico'? More to come at the end of the year. I think both are possible."
The issue of diversifying law enforcement agencies came under renewed scrutiny in the summer of 2014 following the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in Ferguson, Missouri. The subsequent, apparent trend of minorities' being shot by law enforcement seemed to prompt Comey to announce the FBI's efforts at attracting more than just white male applicants, the Washington Post reported.
“Big challenge for the FBI," Comey said last year. "The FBI is overwhelmingly white and male. ... And I’ve got nothing against white males: I happen to be one.”
A reporter asked Comey on Sunday for a status update on the agency's efforts to attract diverse applicants and whether it was still underway.
"In a way, the more successful local law enforcement is at attracting a diverse workforce, the better that will set us up to be fed by that talent," Comey said. "That’s how I think about it."