We’ve been critical of the diminishing racial diversity of Forest Park’s police department. And by diversity we mean African-American officers. Retirements have recently reduced the small number of Black officers at a moment in American history when representation is critical.

We understand the challenges that a far too rigid, state-mandated hiring system imposes. And we have urged the department to actively step up its efforts to recruit potential Black officers.

All that said, it is good to see the arrival of Mohammad Awad to the force. He is Forest Park’s first Muslim officer. His thoughtful comments on community policing and his place within this department are encouraging. Awad and fellow recruit Nicholas Hatler began their field training in August.

We welcome both officers to Forest Park.