Effects of Police Race on Community Policing Abstract

Effectsof Police Race on Community Policing


Formany years, race has been a crucial figure in defining policing.Regardless of this awareness, attempts to quantify the assessmentshave not yielded tangible results. This paper examines the relationbetween the racial composition and the police force. It is also basedon the ethnic arrest patterns established in the place. The rise inthe minority police is linked to the considerable apprehension ofnonwhites. Likewise, white law enforcers heighten the number ofarrests. The patterns are quite evident in minor offenses.Comprehending the causes of this empirical regularity and thesignificant effect on crime is vital for future studies.

Americanpolice encounter race issues daily, in almost all aspects of life.They face these challenges in whatever they do as police officers.They meet race within the geographic dissemination of misconduct aswell as the fear of crime. Additionally, they confront the ethnicissues in presumptions of how the criminals look like. Race is also aproblem when it comes to hostility and suspicion of the AfricanAmerican men they meet on the streets. In other instances, ethniccommunities complain about either being under – or over-policed.Race is also a challenge when it comes to charges of unequal justiceand ethnic profiling. In addition to that, they confront race inhiring, assigning, and promoting police officers. In that respect,ethnicity is still an “American dilemma” as famously observed byGunnar Myrdal in 1944, particularly and inevitably for the currentpolice. Therefore, this paper will dwell on the effects of policerace on community policing. Apart from that, the different challengesfaced by the law enforcers pertaining ethnicity will be discussed.

Raceis a dividing facet in the American society. It is even moreprevalent in the criminal justice system. The blacks constituteroughly 12% of the entire United States population. They are alsoresponsible for almost 47% of felony convictions and about 54% prisonadmissions. Research infers that nearly one third of the black malesbetween the ages of 20 and 29 are supervised by the criminal justiceon a daily basis. Minority groups are regularly apprehensive andhostile to the justice system. Wrangles between the police andcitizens are common in current urban riots [ CITATION Uni161 l 1033 ].

Theprobable social gains of minority police officers have been realizedever since the Kerner Commission report. This is because the grouphas an advantage when dealing with issues chiefly in minorityneighborhoods. It can comprehend by the cultural norms that arereadily accepted by the panel. It is often contended that minus thesupport of the community in reporting wrongdoings and pinpointinglawbreakers, the police have limited power to prevent crimes orcapture the criminals for punishment. Same-race police may result inheightened willingness of the crime victims to report the offenses tothe appropriate agencies. It also leads to enhanced capabilities tosolve crimes due to the cooperation from the community. As such, itculminates in reduced number of police harassment and unjustifiedarrests [ CITATION Ben111 l 1033 ].

Theopinions imply that matching the neighborhoods and police patrols byethnicity or race might offer significant gains. On the other hand,when the police officers are reluctant to apprehend suspects of theirethnic background even if the crimes are justified, same-racepolicing becomes less efficient in minimizing crimes as compared tocross-race policing. Moreover, the same-race policing may result inthe rise of police corruptions. Implementation of illegal contractsbetween organizations involved in criminal events, e.g. organizedcrime, chop shops, and gangs and the police might be simplified inethnic groups. There is sufficient subjective proof of police-relatedcorruption. As a matter of fact, extensive corruption was among thegrave concerns underlying the early drive away from politicallyfounded police selections, towards the professionalization ofpolicing [ CITATION NOR15 l 1033 ].

Thefigure of non-white full-time staffs in the urban police departmentsincreased from 30 to 38% from 1990 to 2000. In the same time, theproportion of nonwhite police to the citizens augmented from 59 to63. Similarly, the black police-citizen ratio increased from 64 to74. Currently, the African-American – white racial contrast doesnot map effectively onto the resident-police relation within poorurban surroundings. This is because the blacks normally holdpositions across all the stages of policy institute [ CITATION Joh142 l 1033 ].

Socio-legalresearchers contend that this 40-year demographic change opens apossible opportunity toward more civilized and fair scheme of urbanpolicing. Some affirm that the growing diversity validates easing1960s Supreme Court verdicts controlling police behavior like theMapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 and Miranda v.Arizona, 384 U.S. 643. Cathy Cohen, who is a political scientist, isamong the researchers probing the intra-ethnic social relationshipsto identify the value of ethnic solidarity. In her study relating theblack political reactions to the HIV-endemic, Cohen identifies theprospect of “secondary marginalization.” In this case, sheacknowledged marginalization along the aspects of sexuality, class,and sex [ CITATION Ben111 l 1033 ].

Whenit comes to police violence based on the racial grounds, both whiteand black Americans have varying views. The white community living inmore racially diverse areas have more negative perceptions of thepolice than less diverse regions. For instance, 42% of whitesresiding in more discrete areas, state that the officers are quick toutilize deadly force as compared to 29% in less diverse communities.Approximately 30% of the white contingent living in varied areasaffirm that police officers in the region are likely to utilizedeadly force against African-American as compared to 21% of whites inthe less various states. Similarly, they report that police in theregion are likely to use force or other rough measures against theminority groups that is 58% vs. 42% [ CITATION Ben111 l 1033 ].

TheAfrican-American attitudes towards the police officers in theirsociety differ subject to the ethnic diversity. Those who live indensely populated black regions perceive the officers negatively.However, those who live in less populated black areas have lessnegative views. Furthermore, the African-American residents living inpopulated states think the local cops treat minority members harshlywhen it comes to crime (88 percent vs. 74 percent). Similarly, 82% ofthe blacks think the police officers in their community are expectedto utilize deadly force against African-American persons. The ratesare much higher than the 66% residing in non-black majority regions.The African-American residents in the populated parts also thinklocal police are doing a poor or fair job of controlling crimes.Another 33% never or rarely trust the cops to do what is just fortheir society [ CITATION Ben111 l 1033 ].

Inrecent years, several highly publicized events involving policeofficers and the death of unarmed African-American men have been onthe rise. In many instances, considerable attention has been accordedto the officers’ handling by the justice system. In general,Americans are at odds as to how justly the law enforcers causingthese deaths are treated. Roughly 41% think the police are treatedwith much lenience, 40% consider the treatment to be fair, andanother 17% feel they are given harsh treatment. The perceptions arevarying between the different races. However, the white population ismore supportive of the criminal system than their black counterparts.46% of the white population and only 20% of the blacks deem thepolice to be handled fairly. On the other hand, only 32% of thewhites and 70% blacks infer that the police are handled tooleniently. 21% of the whites and 8% of the African-Americans thinkthey are handled too harshly [ CITATION Joh142 l 1033 ].

Thecommunity policing effect is also evidenced in children treatment.According to recent studies, black kids, especially boys are viewedto be older, less innocent, and therefore more accountable to theirconducts than their peers from the white populace within the same agegroup. Moreover, these relations result in racial disparities inchildren policing. As such, the entire community is affected due tounfair treatment of children in the same age-group but from differentethnic backgrounds. Dr. Marva Robinson of the Association of BlackPsychologists (ABP) used the study conducted by Dr. Phillip Goff thatestablished that there were racial disparities in handling of kids bythe police. In his sentiments, the acts lead to dehumanization of theAfrican Americans. According to Goff, dehumanization is the act of“denying full humanness to others [ CITATION Joh142 l 1033 ].”

Agood example of dehumanization is slavery. However, it still existsin less apparent means such as ubiquity of detrimental stereotypes onthe black populace. Even if the act of dehumanization is not joinedto explicit prejudice, it can result in the lessening or removal ofsocial preventions against violence. Characteristically, adults feelobliged to guard children and are hasty to presume guiltlessness fromthem. Nevertheless, due to dehumanization, African-American kids areviewed to be older (roughly an average of four years) and hence, lessworthy of the protections given to the children. The African-Americankid’s faults are less likely to be forgiven as the common mistakesof childhood [ CITATION USD15 l 1033 ].

Inher testament, Dr. Robinson extended on this study by observing thepropensity of police officers within the media to denote to youngblack kids as teens or men. He emphasized on the fact that themisconducts of African-American children are habitually deemed asconducts of mischievous intent, in contrast to the child-likemistakes presumed of white kids. In that regard, the African-Americanchildren, particularly boys, are in danger while interacting with thepolice officers, who likely, although unconscious, deem them to bemuch older, hence, more culpable. According to Dr. Robinson’s view,the black kids are not guaranteed the ability to behave like childrenwho are innocent [ CITATION NOR15 l 1033 ].

Inthe parts of Dr. Goff’s research done with the police unit, thedehumanization scores indicated that the officers used force againstthe kids. Even though it might be hard to consider circumstances thatthe law enforcers are supposed to use force against kids, the killingof Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old by the officers while playing with anairsoft gun in a park exemplifies this. The anti-black dehumanizationmeasure anticipated by Dr. Goff indicated racial disparitiesconcerning the children. Furthermore, the current approaches tobiases seem to be inaccurate. In that respect, some panelistsacknowledged the painful requirement to equip the black kids withinthe society with adequate skills to survive and relate with thepolice. In one example, Reverend Traci Blackmon used the slogan “ComeHome Alive” to teach kids how to behave while interacting with thelaw enforcers. He states, “Though it is necessary, it is quitegrieving that children are being protected in a manner that creates aclimate of fear.” In this sentiment, the Reverend knew it wasnecessary to teach the kids how to interact with the police officers[ CITATION USD15 l 1033 ].However, this creates a worrying climate where the kids are taught tofear the people who are supposed to protect them.

Accordingto testimonies, relations between the community and the lawenforcers, especially regarding color, regularly escalate quickly. Assuch, this replicates and contributes to the current tensions betweenthe groups. For instance, members of the public together with thepanelists pinpointed various experiences of individuals of color,have concerning racial profiling. In one example, Damon Danielsnarrated his encounter of “driving while black.” The lawenforcers stopped and harassed him claiming that a vehicle thatresembled his had been stolen. Another example was shared by a Latinaindividual, Ms. Alberta Mejia, who stated how she was harassed andremanded for two days for lacking a Social Security Card in a trafficstop. From the above examples, it is evident that the trafficofficials probably stopped the two due to racial bias. However, theofficers may not be consciously aware of the same. On the other hand,Ms. Mejia and Mr. Daniels were conscious of the role race had playedin the interactions [ CITATION Uni161 l 1033 ].

Althoughthe law enforcers may be unaware of the impacts of biases on thesechoices, the marginalized people are cognizant of the harmfulstereotypes. Even though police officers may not be consciouslyaware of the effects of biases on their decisions, individuals ofmarginalized racial groups are more conversant with the way negativestereotypes on color affect these interactions, especially when theirphysical safety may be at risk [ CITATION Uni161 l 1033 ].

Stereotypeslinking black people to criminality are salient within theAfrican-American society, particularly men’s interactions with thelaw enforcers. The men in this society are treated unfairly due totheir skin color whether consciously or unconsciously. Moreover, tocontrol their conduct during these exchanges, innocent AfricanAmerican men are likely to show physical signs of anxiety. Thesesignals are related to culpability, such as freezing, or avoiding eyecontact. These cues implore the police officers to react accordinglyimplying that they are guilty. The effect of racial profilingresulted in low self-esteem, mistrust of the institutions, andheightened criminalization. The black society experience traumaemanating from the discriminations. As such, they get nightmares,numbness, an outburst of anger, and flashbacks among other effects.Without comprehension of the difficult symptoms of trauma, the policemay perceive these acts as noncompliance or aggression by the person.Collectively, these circumstances can intensify relations between thelaw enforcers and individuals from the black community. In anotherextreme instance of escalation between the policies and thecommunities is exemplified by the killing of Michael Brown [ CITATION Uni161 l 1033 ].


Communitypolicing is viewed to be a sacred organization. Challenging thisaspect is rarely accepted by the police administrators, citizens, orpoliticians who have stimulated implementation. The advocates’actions for authentic and efficient community policing might beinterpreted as a counterproductive measure. Disapproval of theemployment, methods, and efficiency of community policing may bedeemed to be an attack against the objectives and core values of theprocess. Nevertheless, the disadvantages of utilizing communitypolicing are damaging. It has had detrimental impacts in some sectswhere the black community is continuously discriminated against. Asillustrated above, the effect is felt even among children, where thepolice force unfairly handles the African-American kids. As such,there is need to adopt a more intensive approach to promotingfairness among all the citizens.


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