Diversity initiative on the table for Cleveland police department

Larry Wallace speaks to the Cleveland City Council at a June meeting.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Cleveland officials have called for more minorities and women to serve in the city's police department.

The city is planning a community reception, tentatively set for Aug. 26, in hopes of encouraging prospective recruits to apply for future vacancies in the Cleveland Police Department, law enforcement consultant Larry Wallace recently told the Cleveland City Council.

Certified police officers working for other agencies will be able to speak to Cleveland police officials informally during the event, Wallace said.

"Diversity is everyone," he said. "We feel very strongly about this event." In a June report, Wallace said the department's 87 sworn officers included seven women and seven black or Hispanic members.

Wallace, along with interim Police Chief Mark Gibson and City Councilman Avery Johnson, spoke recently about the department's diversity initiatives.

"We're dealing with perceptions - true, false or indifferent," Johnson said of recent "frank discussions" with the department's diversity committee.