On January 4, 1971 history was made at the Columbus Police Academy. Seven Black men would begin training at the police academy. This was highest number of Blacks to take training at this facility. Joseph (Andy) Edwards, Charles Martin, Warren Hanna, Freddie Robinson, William McDonald, Sam Allen, and I, James Moss would become the new trend in police hiring. Blacks in this class were the aftermath of the turbulent times of the 1960’s.

Riots had plagued the large cities with a great number of people losing their lives, buildings were destroyed and the inner cities looked like a war zone. Unlike, Chicago, Cleveland, Trenton, and Los Angles, Columbus was spared from the destruction of its inner city. The riot in Columbus was not large and the property damage was less than the Ohio State- Michigan Football Celebration on campus.

The Kernner Commission in 1967 had urged the major cities with large number of Blacks to hire Blacks on their white police departments. This report found there was a deep and long history of racism in hiring and enforcing laws in the inner cities. The logical behind hiring black officers would reduce the tension between the police department and the black community.

The recommendations looked good on paper but the Kernner Commission forgot to include the “Wall of Racism” in the police departments. The seven black officers had initially been rejected and they had to perform and produce more records than their white counter parts to be hired.

The late Reverend John Frazier, pastor of the First A.M.E. Zion Church, had been chosen by Mayor Jack Sensenbremer to serve on a special task force after the riot in Columbus. Rev. Frazier was asked to try to recruit more blacks on the Columbus Police Department. I was a member of his church and we had discussed me taking the police test. I had already taken the U.S. Post Office Test and the Columbus Fire Department Test, while I was attending college.

I passed the written part of the examination with a high score. I made it through the ridiculous agility test at the Ohio State Fair Grounds. I don’t know why we had to scale an eight foot fence or wall because during my entire 24 years on the police department I had never climbed over an eight foot fence or wall. The highest fence in residential areas were usually three feet or shorter. I thought the physical agility test would be the hardest task but I had another task that would become very difficult.

The next step was the physical examination. I knew that I was in great shape because I had just received a thorough physical examination when I discharged from the U.S. Army in March 1970. I was given a hearing test beside a window air conditioner. A white racist city doctor at the city health department put his wrist watch to my ear and he asked me if I could hear the wrist watch ticking. I could not hear it unless I had elephant ears. The white nurse was amazed and she tried to tell the doctor to move me away from the air conditioner but he refused. I can remember his exact words, “I know what I am doing!” He did know what he was doing. The white doctor used his power as the city physician as acting like one of “the racist gate keepers” whose function was to keep Blacks from getting hired.

I informed Rev. Frazier how the doctor had tested my hearing during my physical examination. I went to Fort. Hayes (I was stationed at Fort Hayes, when I came from the Vietnam War in 1969) and I had the army doctor give me a hearing test inside of a sound proof room. I passed the hearing test with no problems. I took my report to Rev. Frazier and he met with Mayor Sensenbremer. I received a called from the Columbus Civil Service Commission explaining that the city doctor had made a mistake on my hearing test and they had accepted my hearing test from the U.S. Army. Unfortunately, every Black applicant who was rejected during the physical examination did not have a Rev. Frazier to call. The white racist doctor remained on the job for the city as the “racist gate keeper.”

I gave you a short version of the racism that has plagued the Columbus Police Department. The City of Columbus has never made a real effort to hire Blacks on the Columbus Police Department, because of the imbedded institution racism. It was lawsuits by Clyde Haynie (Haynie vs. Chupka 1973) and Yula Bryant (Bryant vs. Chupka 1975) forced the city to hire Blacks and females. The seven officers who were hired in 1971 did not represent a new open and fair hiring process. The physical examinations and background checks were treated differently than the white applicants.

In the 1990’s and early in 2000 more reports would say that Columbus had a problem with race when it came to hiring Blacks. After 1990 two list for hiring which was the result of Clyde Haynie Lawsuit was deleted by Federal Judge Graham it become busy as usual. The number of Blacks that had to be hired under the federal guideline was 14.9 % or approximately 15 %. The next few classes were all white and this trend would continue into the twenty first century.

The 2000 census revealed Blacks made up approximately 25% of Columbus’s population. So, why it is so hard to hire Blacks in Columbus? Unlike other cities Columbus never had a plan to hire Blacks. The money that is spent in the recruiting office is a joke. Unlike the military, Columbus does not have a projected goal when it comes to hiring Blacks. The police officers who work in the recruiting office are trained in the areas of public speaking, communication, advertisement, and marketing to reach the Blacks in Columbus. The recruiting department should have a contract with a Black marketing company to help recruit Blacks. It should not be a three month contract that will only use the black local radio stations and black newspapers for only a couple of weeks for advertisement.

One of the biggest problems in recruiting Blacks is the Columbus Civil Service Commission. The Civil Service under the leadership of Barbara Gates McGrath has used convert racism tools to keep Blacks from being hired. She is one of the leftover attorneys who defended the city of Columbus during the P.O.E.R. vs. City of Columbus 1976 Federal Lawsuit. Why she was put in charge of this vital organization and why she still remains on the job puzzles me.

The new changes in the Civil Service Commission are disguises to keep the institution racism a tool for not hiring Black applicants. Mrs. Gates will not admit to this but she will hide behind how these changes make it easier for people to get hired. The new changes have kept the number of Blacks from being hired to a very low number or sometimes Blacks are not included in the police classes. The new changes work better than using a window air conditioner.

One example is the ridiculous rule of employment. Blacks in this country have the highest unemployment rate because we are the first to be fired and the last to be hired. Blacks sometime have to work part-time because they cannot find a full time job. Points are giving by the civil service commission because of your work history.

Looking for another job for most Blacks is hard work. Blacks know there is a big risk of being fired when they make an attempt to search for another job because of the restrictions of their present employer. Civil Service does not accommodate the necessary problem Blacks have when it comes to meeting Columbus Civil Service schedule of events the Black police applicant must perform to complete his or her application.

There is no consideration given to a person who works second or first shift. One example, a Black police applicant called me because he was eliminated from the list because he could not change the time of one of his interviews. The Black applicant tried to explain that his employer would not give him the time off because of the busy schedule during this time. Why aren’t the hiring processes twenty-four operations? Civil Service could change its operations to make sure that it is more flexible when there is problem with scheduling. The hours could be changed during the final phases of the hiring process. Everyone does not have a 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. work schedule.

In the 1990’s Attorney Percy Squire was a part of a committee that studied the hiring process involving the civil service process. Again, the same conclusion was found. Race placed a major role in the hiring process. The special committee made some suggestions that became merely “suggestions”. After the report was presented at press conference, Safety Director Rice, Barbara Gates, police recruiting officers, and other city officials met with the P.O.E.R. A promise was made to work closely with the P.O.E.R. to hire more Blacks. There was no follow-up or another meeting. Fortunately, the P.O.E.R. continued to conduct pre-hiring classes.

Our organization had conducted pre-hiring classes and we had a better record than the Columbus Civil Service pre-hiring classes. All of the candidates who had successfully completed all of our training had passed the written part of the police test with high scores. The P.O.E.R. had to use our Attorney John Waddy to perform legal actions against the Civil Service because of their discriminatory practices. The federal government agreed with us and the two rejected candidates were hired.

The disappearance of the Black Police officers in Columbus can be attributed to the “Disappearance of Black Leadership in Columbus. Black faces in high government positions including the mayor office is not a show of power until equality is enforced. Maynard Jackson, Carl Stokes, Harold Washington were strong Black Mayors who led the way in shaping their police department to represent the diversity of their city. I remembered when Maynard Jackson of Atlanta refused to promote white sergeants because the list did not contain Blacks. The F.O.P. took Maynard Jackson to court but he stood his ground. He won the lawsuit and Atlanta had to promote Blacks.

The Fraternal Order of Police (F.O.P), the police union in Columbus is another problem why Blacks are not hired. Black politicians in Columbus will do almost anything to get the white controlled F.O.P. endorsement instead of trying to find ways to hire more Blacks. The F.O.P. has been the biggest stumbling block to recruitment of Blacks. The F.O.P. has never endorsed a fair and equal hiring agreement in their contract. In the three federal lawsuits involving discriminatory practice in the Columbus Police Department, the F.O.P. has always sided with the city. The F.O.P. Black membership must force the union to support an aggressive hiring of Blacks.

It has been thirty-four years ago since I was a part of the historical hiring event. It is sad that the hiring of Blacks has not changed for the better but it has gotten worse. The disappearance of Blacks will continue until an appearance of a strong Black leader in Columbus appears or until the Black people demand a change. Columbus should represent its diversity in the Columbus Police Department. The last census (2000) approximately Twenty-five per cent of the Columbus population is Black. The same percentage should be used to represent Blacks on the Columbus Police Department. Twenty-five per cent of the approximately 1834 police officers would give a total of 458 Blacks. The last count of Black officers (males and females) is approximately 231. (12.5 per cent) There are approximately 267 white females on the Columbus Police Department. There are more white females on the Columbus Police Department than the grand total of Black females and males. The recent retirement of Blacks on the Columbus Police Department will make the number even smaller.

Attorney Carolyn Watts, the attorney for Clyde Haynie in the U.S. Federal District Court, requested on October 4, 1973, the following relief: “That an effective recruitment program be designed which would assure the Black community it will not meet with discrimination.” After thirty-two years, the Black Community in Columbus is still seeking the relief because Blacks are disappearing from the Columbus Police Department