The effort to increase security measures along the U.S.-Mexico border has led to a rise in the number of state troopers who identify has Hispanic.
An analysis by The Dallas Morning News found that over the last 18 months more than 40 perfect of the 450 people who trained to become a trooper for the Texas Department of Public Safety are Hispanic. It’s the highest percentage the Texas DPS has seen in at least a decade.
Lawmakers have designated $800 million to boost security along the border, and pay incentives were introduced as part of the border package. DPS officials said a larger recruiting budget and greater presence in South Texas have contributed to the rise in Hispanic applicants.
The data analyzed by the newspaper showed a clear increase in Hispanic troopers in the force. In 2006, DPS was 63 percent white, 25 percent Hispanic and 10 percent black. This year, they were 59 percent white, 30 percent Hispanic and 9 percent black.
It’s a trend that is being seen within police agencies across the U.S. as the Hispanic population continues to grow.
Robert Bodisch, DPS’ deputy director of homeland security and services, told the Dallas Morning News that the benefits of having a diverse force are obvious.
"It's Police 101,” he said. "You want diversity within your force so you can go out into different communities and be able to relate and have people be able to relate back to you."
Alex Piquero, a criminology professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, told the newspaper that a greater demographic mix at any law enforcement agency does not necessarily reduce the chance of profiling, but that without a doubt it does pay off.