It would be ideal to have such representation in the Rockford Police Department. But it's far from realistic right now. Out of nearly three-hundred police officers, 16 are hispanic. And just under 30-percent are a minority. A statistic, some say needs to change.
"We need to have Hispanics who speak the language and understand the culture," says Julio Salgado, of Latinos for Progress.
Police recruiters say they'd like to have more Hispanics on the force, but they can only hire those who show up. Last fall, only about a quarter of Hispanic applicants came to their first interview, which is a physical agility test. And only about a third showed in the spring. Leaving some in the department boggled about their recruiting efforts.
The Department says it advertises on several Hispanic TV channels and Hispanic newspapers. But some say they don't believe it.
"We have been in this community for over a year and we haven't heard anything from the police department so we need to be working a little bit harder," Salgado says.
Currently, the police department has job openings, which you can see on the city's website. But they're not being advertised in three highly circulated Rockford Hspanic newspapers.
There are ads in Hspanic newpapers out of Chicago like El Dia and La Raza, which have some circulation in Rockford. But we checked a Hispanic grocery store, Hispanic restaurant and the Rockford Public Library, and couldn't find these publications. The Police Department says it will soon start advertising with a newspaper owned by the Rockford Register Star.