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LOOKING AHEAD: Future Problems, Future Tools. David L. Carter, Ph.D. Michigan State University.
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LOOKING AHEAD:Future Problems, Future Tools David L. Carter, Ph.D. Michigan State University The information in this presentation was prepared for the WSU Regional Community Policing Institute, by David L. Carter, Ph.D., National Center for Community Policing, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824. The information may be reproduced with attribution to both the WSU RCPI and the author.
The FutureIt’s Closer Than You Think • We have difficulty envisioning the future because as a society we tend to view problems and issues in the present • History gives us a perspective we can understand; anticipating the future is far more difficult • Looking at what we have experienced in our lifetimes illustrates the dramatic changes which have occurred • Would you have envisioned…x The break-up of the Soviet Union?x Instant global communication?x A war on television? Our challenge is to open our minds and not look at the future in the limited context of our history
The FutureIt’s Closer Than You Think • A number of issues are facing us in the future • The direction and application of community policing must respond to these contemporary trends • Think creatively--do not lock your perspective of community policing solely in an historical context
Issues in the Practice of PolicingRacial Profiling • The practice started with drug interdiction profiles (Operation Pipeline) • Profiles invariably included race as a variable • Dilemmasx A complete profile can be accuratex Officer behavior tends to stereotype • Perception of racial profiling can be as damaging as the actual practice
Issues in the Practice of PolicingRacial Profiling • Do we throw out a useful tool if:x If it gives the perception of impropriety?x If it offends members of the community? • No easy answers--Remedies include:x Analysis to provide more explicit profilesx Training on the proper use and application of a profilex Greater supervisory oversight in use of profilesx Awareness training related to perceptions
Issues in the Practice of PolicingRacial Profiling • A 19-year old black college student observed:“Why do the police always stop a black man when they see him alone at night? They think if you are a black male out late at night, you’re a criminal. Cops are prejudiced!” • A 29-year-old police officer in a graduate class said:“I stop and check out people who are suspicious in light of my experience and the circumstances I observe at the time. I am accused of being prejudiced, but I am only doing the job I was trained for.”
Issues in the Practice of PolicingRacial Profiling • Despite community policing, the problem has increased visibility in recent monthsx On one hand, the police have made remarkable progress in communitiesx On the other, definite problems have emerged
Issues in the Practice of PolicingRacial Profiling • Why has disharmony increased?x Fallout from the racial policing issuesx Citizens’ misinterpretation of officer safety perceptionsx Continued impact of historical prejudicesx Stereotypes of policex Lack of empathy/understanding by non- minority officersx Fueled by “urban legends” and gossip which take on the character of being “truth”
Issues in the Practice of PolicingRacial Profiling • What are the remedies?x Continued vigilance by police--includes commitment to change by managementx Involving citizens in policy makingx Meaningful training and supervision adhering to organizational valuesx Public educationxLong term: Recruitment and re-socialization
Issues in the Practice of PolicingRacial Profiling • There will always be controversy in oursociety about police using force • “Brutality” is an emotional termwhich does not give accurate portrayal • Does excessive force occur? Yes--reasons…x Poor judgement x Emotional circumstancesx Unclear facts x Poor supervisionx Poor training x Inadequate follow-upx Ideology of “the end justifies the means” • Despite these, excessive force is the exception
Issues in the Practice of PolicingRacial Profiling • Remediesx The Chief must set a tone for ethical policingx Supervisors must enforce that ethicx Comprehensive and open investigations of misconductx Use of mediation to resolve disputesx Willingness to criminally prosecute in egregious casesx Ethical standard must permeate all training and proceduresxLong term: The selection process
Issues in the Practice of PolicingRacial Profiling • Related issues:x “Adrenaline incidents”--car chase, resisting arrest, emotional cases (e.g., child abuse)x The “Code of Silence”x Civilian Reviewx Racial stereotyping • The Bottom Line:x There are no quick fixesx Efforts to control force must be diligent and on-going
Issues in the Practice of PolicingRacial Profiling • Domestic Terrorismx Right Wing Extremistsx Foreign terrorist attacks on U.S. soil • Computer-related crimex Not just pedophilesx Hacking, cracking and phreaking will provide a major challenge (e.g., theft, fraud)
Issues in the Practice of PolicingRacial Profiling • School violence includes:x Gangs x Drug relatedx Individual conflictsx A cycle and culture of violence • This last category represents a particularly disturbing trend over the past 18 monthsx While not an epidemic, it is clearly a trend • Who can forget the images of school violence incidents?
Issues in the Practice of PolicingRacial Profiling • These disturbing images beg the question, “Why?” • We want simple, fast answers and remedies. They simply do not exist. • Short-termx Securityx Awareness education (teachers and parents)x Environmental control policies (e.g., uniforms, banning of certain symbols, etc.)x Developing a response plan
Parentsx Socialization of Valuesx Monitoring Behaviorx Providing Guidance Schoolx Disciplinex Monitor Trendsx Safe Environment Fellow studentsx Humanityx Fairness Policex Problem solvingx Crime analysisx Willingness to “go in harm’s way” Mediax Violent portrayalsx “Over Coverage” A changing, impersonal society--including Internet The individual--self responsibility Issues in the Practice of PolicingSchool Violence--Whose Fault?
Issues in the Practice of PolicingSchool Violence • The real remedy lies in a long-term cultural change • Approach it as a public health problem • The police can take a leadership role--but cannot do it alone
Issues in the Practice of PolicingClosing Thoughts • The crime rate in the U.S. has dropped for six years in a row • Through research we know more about crime and crime control methods than ever • Despite the concerns for crime and disorder, we have tools and experiences to move forward and address these problems • We need individual commitment and resolve--with these, successes can be achieved