Eagle Springs, KS – The tiny community of Eagle Springs is exactly what you would expect as far as a town makeup in rural Kansas: 99.4% white residents and a typical split of about 52% male and 48% female. Despite the makeup of the community, since progressive police Chief Mark Hill was hired from the outside (originally from Vermont) he has remained unwaveringly committed to having a “diverse team of law helpers.”
Hill, who says calling officers “helpers” is a good way to “keep their minds from becoming too aggressive” has made sure that in the small department of just 6 members has one white person (himself), an African american, an Asian-American, a Native American, A Latin-American, and one Mixed Race non-American from Morocco who also is in a wheelchair and color-blind. None of the officers are from the area but have all been recruited to one of the smallest yet most diverse departments in the country. It is also split directly down the middle with 3 males and 3 females, however Hill has encouraged that if anyone is interested in not identifying with any gender at all, it may help with some federal grants for equipment.
Until recently, the sleepy but proud town has rolled with the punches. After all, if you’re double parking in the one light town, you’re at fault no matter what race or background the officer who writes the ticket. But the collective eyebrows of the more conservative community have been raised when Mr. Hill announced that he was remodeling the station to eliminate any gender distinction, including the locker room and shower area. Since every shift has at least one male and one female to make everything as even as possible the genders will always mix when getting ready or cleaning up after work.
At a town hall meeting to discuss the matter, an elderly female stood up and said, “Well this sure sounds good for the single male officers but what if it makes the female officer feels uncomfortable?” Hill quickly replied “With all due respect, I don’t see genders, I see officers…I mean helpers.”
Hill’s contract still has more than 2 years to go so there will be plenty of time to see if his progressive program of change will be harmful or helpful.