As the NYPD struggles to repair relationships with the black community, NY1 criminal justice reporter Dean Meminger has discovered that the department is dealing with a disturbing decrease of police who are black men.

There are proud moments at NYPD ceremonies, but there is a growing concern: the number of black men on the force is shrinking.

Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, is a retired NYPD captain.

"It has been comfortable to say we are a diverse department, and when people drill down on the term diverse, they find out that they are not diverse when it comes to black men," Adams said.

About 26 percent of the city is black, but less than 16 percent of the city's police officers are black. The lack of diversity is even greater among male police officers.

"The department has had an awful track record on recruiting black men and bringing them into the department," Adams said.

There are slightly more than 35,000 officers in the NYPD. Eighty-three percent are men. Twelve percent of the men are black.

The new deputy commissioner for personnel, Michael Julian, knows that the lack of black men in a blue uniform must be addressed.

"We have to look at every aspect of this system, from recruitment through every aspect of processing to see if it is fair," Julian said. "Bottom line is, there should be more male blacks in the New York City Police Department. "

This is Julian's second time heading up the personnel department. He held the position in the '90s. He said the percentage of blacks entering the department is about the same as when he first joined the force in the late '60s. 

"Going back even 40 years, 50 years, we've had 7 percent male black," Julian said.

Just look at the current class at the city's police academy. Eight hundred and ninety-one recruits were hired in January. forty-five percent are white men, 20 percent Hispanic men and 10 percent Asian men. All greater than the number of black men - just 7 percent of the class.

"As we look over time, we realize that we are reducing, our numbers are significantly reducing, the number of African-American males," said Timothy Pearson of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. "So we want to see what we can do to turn that around and increase the number."

The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement said it is willing to work with the NYPD to boost the numbers, but clearly, the first step is to investigate why more black men are not putting on the uniform of the finest.