Rebuilding the Image of the Police Department in the Disadvantaged Communities
The police, like any other person, are open to making mistakes that could derail how they work or relate to members of the public. Therefore, taking initiatives to rectify the public’s relationship with the police is critical and presents a suitable opportunity to achieve decreased violation of the law. The task provides clear guidelines that would help to reconstruct the image of the police in disadvantaged communities. It illustrates the significance of selecting competent personnel who can steer the transformation process effectively. It also describes the process of training selected personnel as well as elaborates the process for choosing a site from where people in disadvantaged communities can get relevant assistance. The report also gives valuable information regarding suitable ways for organizing and conducting meetings of community leaders to address key concerns.
Unwavering relationships of mutual trust between police agencies and the communities they work for are essential to achieving effective policing and upholding public safety. Police officers depend on the collaboration of community members to offer information concerning crime in their neighborhoods, and to cooperate with the police to create remedies to crime and disorder complications (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1994). In the emergence of current incidences where the police apply force and other complaints, their acceptability has been criticized in many aspects (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1994). It is important, therefore, that the law enforcers restore relationships with their communities and make this a principal agenda. Using the scanning, analysis, response, and assessment (SARA) problem solving model, the study identifies the key issues that require attention, analyzes the causes of the problem, offers effective response to the concerns, and assess the potential impact of the response mechanism. The paper elaborates that selecting a qualified team, equipping them with relevant skills and knowledge, establishing a service station, and conducting regular meetings with community leaders present a better chance to uplift the police image and restoring confidence in law enforcers.
Scanning – Identifying the Problem
Increased calls to rebuild the rebuild the image of the police, especially in disadvantaged communities shows how much failure to take proactive measures could result in devastating consequences. The Police Executive Research Forum conducted a national convention of community leaders and police, from around the U.S., for a long-day assessment of techniques for reconstructing trust between community and police. These community leaders issued guidance regarding various techniques in which police can show an awareness of issues so as to foster trust. In addition to offering suggestions for building police-community relationship, attendants in the meeting highlighted on the factors that suppress proper relations between the police and members of the public, particularly in disadvantaged communities. Their discussion reflects what Diep (2019) reports about in his article. Diep (2019) reports about the findings of a study showing that areas with the highest number of non-white residents and neighborhoods with high poverty rates in the U.S., are highly likely to encounter harsh police actions. The only substantial difference was that in neighborhoods with high white population, Blacks were disproportionately likely to be murdered in their engagement with the police. For black Americans, the lowest-risk places for deaths involving the police were those that were racially integrated – neither comprising of more Whites or more people of color. In addition to killings linked to the police, disadvantaged neighborhoods report other incidences including racism, oppressive structures, and inattention all caused by the police. Alang et al. (2017) report from their study that the rampant incidences of police brutality in disadvantaged communities has connection with poor health outcomes. Such issues call for effective remedies that would rebuild the relationship between the police and the public; otherwise, cases of violations and misunderstandings will continue.
Analysis – Analyzing the Cause of the Problem
Various factors are responsible for the police brutality witnessed in disadvantaged communities in the U.S. One of the primary causes for such mistreatment is the legal protection that the police enjoy. The police usually still take advantage of legal proceedings in the court of law. Records of their misconduct and performance are sometimes concealed from public awareness and criticism through legislations (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1994). The legal provision of qualified immunity usually safeguards police officers from prosecution, because it only allows litigations against such officers when they have contravened a clearly formulated statutory or constitutional provision. Sometimes, when violations involving the police are investigated, the collection of proof is usually performed by police officers, encompassing statements by witnesses, and police may have been the only available witnesses. Racial profiling is another leading cause for heightened police brutality and misconduct in disadvantaged communities (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1994). Variations in socioeconomic status, race, ability, or religion sometimes prevail between citizens and the police. Consequently, only few people of color get the chance to serve as police officers resulting in high cases of mistreatment in neighborhoods dominated by non-whites. Adherence to the concept of broken windows is another reason why the relationship between members of the community in disadvantaged communities is not as good with the police. The theory implies that indications of disorderliness in neighborhoods such as irresponsible littering, drug abuse, and other criminal behaviors develop the view that the place is neglected thus resulting in more criminality and disturbance (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1994). Consequently, the police tend to use force in these areas to suppress emerging crimes. Understanding the possible causes for violations in disadvantaged communities presents a better chance to embark effectively on reconstructing how police officers relate with members of the public in the targeted communities.
Response – Offering Solutions
A suitable approach towards dealing with the issue is to select a team of competent individuals to steer the campaign aimed at rebuilding the police image. The steering team in this instance will comprise of twenty-five police officers from the municipality whose task is to reconstruct the perception of police officers in various disadvantaged communities. Each of these officers will have shown exemplary performance in their interaction with members of the public, and must be committed to transform how members of the public perceive the police.
Training Selected Personnel
Training is a fundamental phase in remedying the way members of disadvantaged communities perceive the police. The training must focus on ways of increasing police transparency (Skogan et al., 2000). Skogan et al. (2000) further assert that the training should go beyond showing law enforcers how to be transparent and elaborate about their mission, leaving the public to guess what happens between the mission and results, but be able to convince the community that the share mission guides the whole policing process.
Selecting a Site
Members of the identified communities should be able to access sites where they explain their challenges and receive necessary help. The sites should be accessible to everyone and must attend to the need of every client regardless of their status or background. Those serving at the site should be ready to serve people with diverse concerns, and must be in a position to provide effective solutions to disturbing issues. They should be principled and be in a position to apply ethical principles in their decision-making and ways of relating with members of the community. Overall, the site should be welcoming and the environment should be conducive for everyone.
Arranging and Scheduling Meetings
Engaging community leaders through meetings presents a better chance to acquire real issues that the communities want addressed with regard to how the police relates with the public. Holding meetings with community leaders serves as a bridge for reaching the locals who are highly likely to hear and do what their leaders tell them. Moreover, engaging community leaders creates the impression that the police wants to engage local residents in every identified area in the process of changing how people view the police.
Assessment – Assessing Effectiveness of the Response
Working with a competent team, training them, establishing sites where members of the community present their issues, and arraigning meetings with community leaders is a multidimensional approach to rebuilding the police image, and is likely to give impressive results. Carefully selecting a team to work with helps to avoid loopholes that could derail the overall performance of the initiative. Moreover, appropriate selection of the team to work with increases the likelihood for choosing a team that is ready and willing to achieve the stipulated goals and objectives. On the other hand, training the selected individuals make them more competent in the way they perform their functions, and increase their level of innovation (Skogan et al., 2000). Training the team is a suitable approach because this makes participants more effective in the way they deal with disturbing issues. Besides, training members equip them with modern skills and information that they can use to deal with the changing circumstances of the modern society and communities. Community perceptions towards police officers continue to change and violations – both by law enforcers and members of the public continue to evolve (Skogan et al., 2000). Therefore, sticking to traditional techniques of dealing with the issues could make the initiative less effective and impactful on the target populations. Hence, equipping the selected team with current concepts makes it easier for them to deal with emerging issues.
The other proposed techniques to dealing with the problem are equally effective and deserve adequate attention. Creating a site where members of the public in the target communities can access services is a suitable approach towards rebuilding the image of the police in disadvantaged communities (Skogan et al., 2000). Creating such sites facilitates access to the needed services and restores confidence that the police are ready to attend to the needs of everyone. Finally, holding meetings is an effective approach towards dealing with the identified problem because this creates a chance to understand the real issues that locals want the police to change. The meetings should happen as frequently as possible to be at par with what community members want and how they aspire to relate with the police. Therefore, the team working towards rebuilding the police image and their relationship with members of the community in the identified communities should not relent in their quest to implement the plan.
The report provides suitable guidelines that may help to transform the image of the police in disadvantaged communities where past and present atrocities create bad relationship between law enforcers and members of the public. The analysis describes the problem as one that requires urgent and effective remedy to avert continuous violations of people in disadvantaged neighborhoods. It explains the possible causes for the issue and gives a plan for addressing the challenge. Finally, the report assess the remedy and identifies it as an effective approach to rebuilding the image of the police in disadvantaged communities.
Alang, S., McAlpine, D., McCreedy, E., & Hardeman, R. (2017). Police brutality and Black health: Setting the agenda for public health scholars. American Journal of Public Health, 107(5), 662-665. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.303691
Bureau of Justice Assistance. (1994). Understanding community policing a framework for action. Washington D.C.: Bureau of Justice Assistance Response Center.
Diep, F. (2019). Police are most likely to use deadly force in poorer, more highly segregated neighborhoods. Retrieved from https://psmag.com/news/police-are-most-likely-to-use-deadly-force-in-poorer-more-highly-segregated-neighborhoods
Skogan, W., Harnett, S., DuBois, H., Comey, J., Kaiser, M., & Lovig, J. (2000). Problem solving in practice: Implementing community policing in Chicago. Washington D.C.: National Institute of Justice.