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Minnie Bommer requests fair hiring practices

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In Tuesday's public safety committee meeting, alderwoman Minnie Bommer made her request clear.
"We really need people who can be controlled better by the people who know how to talk to them," she told police chief Buddy Lewis and fire chief Jerry Craig. "The city's now 51 percent African-American and our police and fire departments don't reflect that."
Since she was elected to the board in 2012, Bommer has worked to promote her belief that municipal departments reflect the racial makeup of its citizenry. She told other city leaders Tuesday that she didn't want her request to be "glossed over again."
"I don't want you to just say 'okay' and nothing happens," she said. "In the neighborhood I live in, I haven't seen a black officer in weeks. We need them on the street."
Lewis told Bommer prior to the meeting he'd been in her neighborhood with two black officers and that if there were qualified African-American applicants, they would be considered.
Bommer said its important that the police and fire departments employ personnel who can "stop stuff before it starts," whether those people are African-American or otherwise.
She said the NAACP is "clamping down" on persons in position of authority to do what they can to make sure something similar doesn't happen elsewhere.
"I don't want escalation," she said, referencing the recent protests in Ferguson, Mo. over the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. "That kind of thing can ruin a department's reputation, it can ruin a city's reputation, and I don't want that."
"We handle things fairly and we will, as long as I'm there," Lewis responded. "If it stops being fair, that's the point when I leave."
Of Covington's 33 police department employees, 10 are African-American. Lewis said three of those officers have been hired since 2011.

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