The Montgomery County Police Department discriminates against blacks in hiring and against black officers by disciplining them more frequently and giving them fewer promotions than their white counterparts, according to a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commision report.
The report, promoted by a complaint lodged two years ago by the county's Coalition of Black Police officers, also criticized the department for failing to honor more requests by black officers for job transfers.
At the same time, the report found no substantiation of the coalition's complaints that whites were assigned to more desirable locations and that tests given for promotions are weighted unfairly against blacks.
The report states that, despite the fact that the police department hires employees from throughout the metropolitan Washington area where 25 per cent of the population is black, no more than 4.2 per cent of its total number of employees are blacks. Montgomery County's population was estimated in 1974 to be 6.9 per cent black, according to the Washington Center for Metropolitan Studies.
In addition, the report found that since November, 1975, there have been 37 promotions, none of which involved black officers, and of the 260 officers transferred only four were black.
"I know the figure on black (hiring) is low, just observing the department," county Police Chief Robert J. diGrazia said yesterday. "But we haven't hire anyone. There are no slots right now, and we probably won't be hiring until early 1978."
DiGrazia, who came from Boston to head the county police just under a year ago (well after the complaints were filed), noted that of the 20 people hired since January, 10 were women and/or blacks. It was not known how many of the 10 were black.
In addition, the report stated that, while 40 white male police officers out of 660 have been disciplined since 1975, 21 out of 34 black officers who were employed over the same period were disciplined, a rate far higher than that of the whites.
In 1977, according to the report, nine of the 13 disciplined black officers "incurred some type of monetary loss" as a result of the disciplining. At the same time, of the 30 white police officers disciplined during the same period, only two lost pay or were fined as a result, the report found.
"They (the discipline rates) seem way out of line," diGrazia said yesterday. As for the high rate of monetary loss suffered by the blacks, diGrazia said, "I can only assume that it happened when someone was late and had to forfeit some hours of back pay."
DiGrazia and other officials noted that promotion for all police officers is slow. Since the beginning of the year, diGrazia said, only five officers have been promoted.
DiGrazia said that he had received a copy of the report only within the last few days "through unofficial channels" and had not yet had a chance to read it.
"We concur with the EEOC determination," said Tony Fisher, the head of the Coalition of Black Police Officers. Fisher said he still believes that all the charges originally brought against the department are legitimate.
"The approaches used for affirmative action are very cosmetic . . . If nobody's getting promoted, why have the program in the first place?" he said. "There are no steps taken in the present administration to deal with discrimination."
County Executive James P. Gleason said that he received a copy of the EEOC report yesterday. "I am surprised a little bit. I thought we would have been notified for a hearing during the investigation." Gleason and a police official both said that a conciliation meeting to discuss a resolution would be set up with the EEOC and Police Chief diGrazia.