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The Police in America, 4/e
Samuel Walker, University of Nebraska
Charles M. Katz, Arizona State University-West

Police Problems
Police-Community Relations

Chapter Outline

Chapter Nine: Police-Community Relations

Lecture Outline

I. Introduction: conflict between police and racial and ethnic communities 
	A. One of the most serious problems in American policing
	B. "Driving while black"--most recent controversy

II. A definition of police-community relations (PCR)
	A. Relations between the police and racial and ethnic minority communities
		1. Police have never had the same types of conflict with the white 
		    majority community 
		2.  PCR problem is one aspect of racial and ethnic inequality in America
		3. Disparities based on race and ethnicity in the criminal justice system
		4. African-Americans represent
			a. 13% of the population
			b. 31% of all persons arrested
			c. 49% of all persons in prison
	B. Different racial and ethnic groups
		1. Hispanic community
			a. relations between the Hispanic community and local police 
				i. tense as the Latino population has increased 
				ii. Hispanics more likely to experience police initiated contacts 
				than whites or African Americans
			b. problems related to enforcement of immigration laws
				i. abuse by federal agents along U.S.-Mexican border
				ii. workplace raids
			c. community exists of various nationality groups
			(EX: Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Central America)
				i. experiences with police vary considerably
		2. The changing Hispanic/Latino community in America
			a. Hispanic/Latino community 
				i. heterogeneous, complex and rapidly growing
				ii. includes U.S. residents, immigrants and refugees
				ii. expected to be the largest racial or ethnic group by 2010
			b. Terminology
				i. "Hispanic" is used by U.S. census and other government agencies	
				ii. labels can imply stereotypes or express power
				iii. Hispanic label encompasses many different nationalities
		3. Native Americans
			a. reservations are served by tribal police departments
			b. crime arrests are much higher on reservations than in general 
			c. tribal police agencies are under-staffed and lack resources to 
			provide sufficient protection
			d. police services are highly fragmented
			e. jurisdictional conflicts between tribal police and local/sheriff's agencies
		4. Asian-Americans
			a. include immigrants from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia
			b. great differences among nationalities
	C. A changing multicultural society
		1. Changing demographic face of America creates new challenges for the police
		2. Challenges
			a. immigrants report crimes at lower rates than other Americans
			b. language and cultural barriers create communication barriers
		3. Responses
			a. offering incentive pay to bilingual officers
			b. hire officers from recently arrived immigrant groups to serve 
			as liaisons
			c. train officers in "street Spanish"
			d. subscribing to 911 translation services
			e. citizen oversight agencies publish material in various languages
	D. Definitions of race and ethnicity
		1. Race
			a. traditionally, defined as biological differences 
			b. currently, the understanding that there are major differences within 
			each racial category
		2. Ethnicity
			a. refers to cultural differences
			b. a person can be ethnically Hispanic but white, black or Native 
			American in terms of race
	E. Gender and sexual preference
		1. Women--police may target young women for traffic stops--harassment
		2. Gay men, lesbians, transgendered persons--problem relates to 
		disrespect and physical abuse

III. Discrimination vs. disparity
	A. Discrimination
		1. Differential treatment based on some extra-legal category 
		(EX: race, ethnicity or gender)
		2. Different forms and degrees of discrimination
	B. Disparity--refers to different outcomes that are not necessarily caused 
	by differential treatment

IV. A contextual approach to police-citizen interactions; definition--experiences
and attitudes toward the police vary according to different contexts:
	A. Different departments
	B. Different types of police actions
	C. Different departmental units	

V. Public opinion and the police
	A. 40 years of data
		1. Attitudes remarkably stable over time; local incidents affect local attitudes
		2. Most Americans are satisfied with the police
	B. Racial and ethnic differences
		1. 1998 survey
			a. 76% of African Americans are satisfied with the police
			b. 90% of whites are satisfied with the police
			c. Hispanics attitudes are between whites and blacks
				i. most polls have failed to survey Hispanics as a separate group
		2. Important to examine differences within racial and ethnic communities
	C. Attitudes about police use of force: differences between white and minority
	groups widen on this issue
		1. Whites have more favorable attitudes than blacks and Hispanics
		2. African Americans
			a. indicate they have been "hassled" by the police more than whites
			b. have much fear of the police
	D. Race and class: Washington, D.C. study (Weitzer)
		1. lower income African American neighborhood-more likely to report:
			a. being stopped by the police without good reason
			b. that the police use insulting language
			c. that police use excessive force 
			d. having seen the police use excessive force (49%)
		2. no residents of white middle-class neighborhood reported seeing 
		use of force incidents 
	E. Other demographic characteristics
		1. Age--young people express less satisfaction with police than 
		older people
		2. Education
			a. people with more education rate police more favorably 
			b. significantly correlated with social class
		3. Gender has little effect on attitudes toward police
		4. Crime victims--rate police performance less favorably than 
	F. Intercity variations--differences among cities that reflect:
		1. Differences in activities of police departments
		2. Departments' reputations
	G. The impact of controversial incidents, particularly affected by 
	questionable shootings or use of physical force
		1. Rodney King-Los Angeles Police Department
			a. approval ratings dramatically fell after incident
			b. ratings eventually returned to previous levels
		2. New York City Police Department-Abner Louima; approval 
		ratings dropped
	H. The Detroit exception
		1. More African-Americans are satisfied with the police than whites
		2. Due to the African-American domination of local political establishment
			a. since 1973,  mayor has been an African American
			b. majority of the police force is African American
	I. Expectations of police performance; dissatisfaction is likely to be greater when:
		1. People have high expectations about what officers should do
		2. Where those expectations are not fulfilled
	J. The police and larger society
		1. Attitudes toward the police do not necessarily reflect:
			a. personal experience
			b. perceptions of a local police department
		2. Attitudes may reflect broader set of attitudes toward:
			a. society
			b. government
			c. criminal justice system
		3. People who express the greatest dissatisfaction with the police
			a. have the most negative attitudes toward courts and judges
			b. are more alienated from society
			c. participate less in politics
		4. Attitudes toward the police reflect symbolic role of the police as 
		agents of authority
			a. badge, gun, baton--visible reminders about officers' power to use force
			b. police are a "social lightning rod"
	K. Police compare favorably with other occupations; they're ranked 6th out 
	of 26 occupations in terms of honesty and ethical standards

VI. Police perceptions of citizens
	A. Police officers do not have accurate perceptions of attitudes toward them
		1. May exaggerate sense of citizen hostility
		2. Suspicion and hostility toward public are elements in officers' 
		"working personality"
	B. Sources of police attitudes
		1. Selective contact
			a. officers do not have regular contact with cross-section of community
			b. low income and racial minorities have disproportionate contact; 
			departments deploy more officers in these areas due to higher crime 
			levels and more calls for service 
			c. more contact with low-income young males; use public places 
			as recreation spots
		2. Selective perception
			a. most contacts between citizens and police are civil, only 2-5% 
			of contacts involves hostility or conflict
			b. officers remember unpleasant incidents more than uneventful ones

VII. Sources of police-community relations problems-contradictions between:
	A. Generally favorable ratings of the police
	B. Conflict between police and minority communities

VIII. Level of police protection
	A. Inadequate police protection
		1. Some minority leaders accuse police of inadequate protection--not 
		assigning enough officers to patrol communities and fight crime
		2. History
			a. African-Americans have been victims of underenforcement of the law
			b. Four different systems of justice in segregated South
				i. white vs. white crimes handled as "normal" crimes
				ii. white against black crimes rarely prosecuted, if at all
				iii. black against white crimes received harshest response
				iv. black vs. black crimes often ignored
		3. Failure to enforce law in minority neighborhoods often involves vice crimes
		(EX: not enforcing gambling, prostitution, drug trafficking)
		4. Tolerating vice crimes harms low income and racial minority communities
			a. breeds disrespect for the police--often due to accompanying corruption
			b. exposes law-abiding citizens to criminal activity
			c. increases risk that juveniles will engage in crime themselves
	B. Under-protection vs. over-enforcement
		1. Minority citizens may argue they are victims of over-enforcement; police 
		are oppressive, harass citizens
		2. Departments assign more officers to low income and racial minority areas
			a. due to higher rates of crime and more calls for service
			b. police are a more visible presence in these areas than in other areas
		3. Departments that use standard workload formulas for officer assignment
			a. will probably assign more officers to minority neighborhoods
			b. only addresses assignment of officers
		4. Crucial questions
			a. what do the police do?
			b. do police in these areas treat minorities differently?
		5. Actual police activities
			a. diversity within racial and ethnic communities
				i. complaints generally come from young males--high level of 
				contact with police
				ii. most members of racial minority communities are law abiding
				iii. most members want more police protection
				iv. police must take different approaches within minority 
			b. examining police field practices--certain activities may have negative impact 
			(EX: field interrogations on young men)

IX. Police field practices
	A. Deadly force
		1. Tennessee v. Garner (1985)
			a. court ruled "fleeing felon" rule unconstitutional
			b. decision accelerated trend toward "defense of life" standard, which 
			greatly restricts use of deadly force by police
		2. Major source of conflict between minorities and the police
		3. Has changed significantly over the past 40 years
			a. 1960s-1970s: ratio of blacks to whites shot and killed by the police
			is as high as 6 to 1 or 8 to 1
			b. greatest disparity between whites and blacks--unarmed persons-usually 
			defined as "fleeing felon"
		4. Since 1960s-early 1970s, number of police shootings has declined; many 
		departments use the restrictive defense-of-life rule
		5. Important question is whether current disparity between blacks and whites represents:
			a. systematic discrimination
			b. contextual discrimination
			c. individual discrimination
		6. Some argue proper standard is number of persons who are "at risk" of shooting 
		incident, which may be defined in terms of involvement in serious crime
	B. Use of physical force
		1. "Excessive force"
			a. most common complaint voiced by minorities about the police
			b. issue is extremely complex, as police are authorized to use force in certain situations
			(EX: to protect themselves, to effect an arrest)
			c. question becomes when is the force excessive? excessive force is 
			any level of force more than what is necessary
		2. Level of necessary force often involves conflicting perceptions
		3. Departments have generally adopted use of force continuum
			a. indicates different level of force
			b. officers trained to use appropriate level of force for each situation
		4. Use of force statistically infrequent event--BJS study (1997)
			a. found use of force in 1% of all interactions 
			b. some argue percentage is higher
			c. assume that most of these incidents occur in large cities
			d. incidents may accumulate over time so that young, low-income males 
			may perceive more harassment
		5. Situational factors--officers more likely to use force against:
			a. criminal suspects (4-6% of all encounters)
			b. male suspects
			c. African American males
			d. drunk citizens
			e. citizens antagonistic to the police
			f. those who offer physical resistance (which increases likelihood of use of force)
			g. citizen resistance or discourtesy 
		6. If officer uses force where there is no resistance or threat from citizen, 
		force would be considered excessive
		7. Some officers admit that other officers sometimes use excessive 
		force--Police Foundation study:
			a. different attitudes among white and black officers
			b. more than half of black officers thought physical force is used more 
			frequently against blacks and other minorities than whites in similar situations
			c. few white officers agreed with this statement
			d. more black officers thought white officers more likely to use force against 
			poor people than middle income
		8. Critics assume excessive force involves white officers against minority 
		citizens, but Reiss
			a. found white and black officers equally likely to use force
			b. officers were most likely to use force against their own race
	C. Arrests
		1. African-Americans arrested more often than whites relative to their population
		2. Arrest is a common experience for young black men in the inner city
		3. Race is not a direct factor in arrest decisions; blacks may be arrested due 
		to disrespect of the police
		4. Characteristics of crime victims may affect racial patterns of arrest
			a. African-American complainants request arrest more often than whites
				i. most crimes are intraracial
				ii. results in more arrests of African-Americans
			b. police may be more likely to comply with wishes of white citizens
				i. especially when they seek the arrest of African-American suspects
				ii. particularly in property crimes
		5. Demeanor
			a. African-Americans may be arrested more, likely due to antagonism
			b. no studies have determined if demeanor is caused by provocation by 
			the police; officers may provoke hostile responses 
		6. African-Americans may be arrested on less stringent criteria than whites
		7. Greatest racial disparities in arrest involve drug offenses.  
		NHS (National Household Survey)
			a. drug use is not very different among racial and ethnic groups
			b. data suggests blacks may be targeted for drug enforcement
	D. Traffic stops: "Driving while black" and "driving while brown"
		1. Most serious allegations of recent discrimination involve traffic enforcement
		2. Civil rights groups 
			a. allege drivers are stopped solely on basis of their race or ethnicity
			b. not due to criminal activity
		3. Critics argue racial disparities in stops and searches is due to "war on drugs"
		-they believe police profile African-Americans as drug dealers
		4. Police response--cite arrest data indicating African-Americans and Hispanics 
		more heavily involved in drug-related offenses
		5. Critics respond that police argument is circular
			a. police target minorities for drug arrests
			b. arrest data is used to justify stops, searches and more arrests
		6. To eliminate racial profiling
			a. demand for departments to collect data on traffic stops by race
			b. growing number of departments voluntarily collect data
	E. Sex discrimination: "Driving while female"--male officers may target young 
	female drivers and stop them as a form of harassment
	F. Field interrogations and searches
		1. Field interrogations are designed to:
			a. apprehend offenders
			b. send a message of deterrence to people on the street
		2. Young racial and ethnic minority males regard this practice as "harassment"
		3. Attorney General of New York State study
			a. African-Americans more likely to be stopped than representation in population
			b. African-Americans stopped at a higher rate than arrest data predictions
			c. police frequently lacked adequate cause for a stop; few stops of 
			African- Americans resulted in arrest
	G. Being "out of place" and getting stopped
		1. Minorities and whites may be stopped if not in their own racial/ethnic 
		2. The assumption is that they do not live there and must be there for 
		some criminal purpose.
			b. must be there for some criminal purpose
	H. Conflicting evidence
		1. Extent to which police systematically target racial and ethnic minorities
		2. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) survey
			a. in some instances, minorities have less contact with the police
				i. whites: 22%
				ii. African Americans: 16%
				iii. Hispanics: 15%
			b. whites and blacks more likely to initiate contact with police
			c. Hispanics less likely to initiate contact with police
			d. data do not support racial profiling against African-Americans
			e. Hispanics are stopped by police at higher rate than other groups
		3. Possible explanations for contradiction
			a. police interactions with minorities is contextual
			b. psychological impact
	I. The heart of the problem: Crime fighting, stereotyping, race and ethnicity
		1.Traffic stops and field interrogations
			a. police regard these practices as:
				i. legitimate
				ii. effective crime-fighting tactics
			b. practices tend to encourage stereotyping of citizens; officers are 
			trained to stereotype
		2. Stereotyping minorities as criminals may be reinforced by department policy
		3. Can race or ethnicity ever be used by police to make a decision?
		is it is wrong if:
			a. race is the only factor used to make a decision
			b. race is included in a list of factors that are used as a profile of 
			criminal suspects
		4. Eliminating all race-based decision making is extremely complex
	J. Verbal abuse and racial and ethnic slurs
		1. Source of tension between police and minority communities
		2. Many departments have policies forbidding offensive language 
		toward citizens
	K. Canine units
		1. A police-community relations problem in some cities
		2. Minorities believe that dogs are more often used against them, 
		believe they are bitten far more often than whites
	L. Delay in responding to calls
		1. Several studies have found officers deliberately delay responding 
		to calls for service, especially for family disturbances
		2. Baltimore study
			a. black citizens perceived greater police delay than whites
			b. higher % of whites reported police response in less than five minutes
			c. two times as many blacks reported police took more than fifteen 
			minutes to respond
	M. Abuse of gay men, lesbians and transgendered persons
		1. Surveys have found patterns of police abuse directed toward 
		gays and lesbians
		who also experience disrespect from some officers
		2. Mistreatment reflects prejudice against people who do not 
		have conventional lifestyles
		3. It also reflects a sense of vulnerability and powerlessness--
		filing a complaint or lawsuit would identify them 
		3. Police response
			a. actively recruit gay and lesbian officers
			b. active outreach or liaison programs with gay and lesbian community
			c. incorporate material on equal treatment in human relations training
	N. Summary
		1. Considerable evidence that minority citizens are subject to differential 
		treatment by the police, especially young, African American males
		2. These incidents accumulate and create the perception of systematic 
		police harassment

X. Administrative practices: handling citizen complaints
	A. Generate distrust among racial and ethnic minority citizens
	B. Belief that police departments:
		1. Fail to investigate citizen complaints, and
		2. Fail to discipline officers who are guilty
	C. Allegations that internal complaint procedures "whitewash" officer misconduct
	D. Hispanic Americans
		1. less likely to file complaints against the police than African Americans due to:
			a. language barrier
			 b. cultural factors
		2. some oversight agencies publish complaint process in Spanish
	E. Due to distrust of police complaint procedures, civil rights leaders have 
	demanded creation of external or citizen oversight agencies to handle complaints

XI. Police employment practices
	A. Employment discrimination
		1. Another cause of police-community relations tension 
		2. Racial and ethnic minorities are underrepresented in most departments, 
		exists when % of a minority group does not equal % of representation in community
		3. Almost all national commissions on policing in last 30 years have recommended 
		departments hire more minority officers
		4. Most experts argue police should represent the communities they serve
		5. Kerner Commission (1968)
			a. underrepresentation of African-Americans in big city departments contributed 
			to the riots of the 1960s	
		6. 1964 Civil Rights Act outlawed employment discrimination on basis or race, 
		national origins; amendments in 1972 strengthened enforcement powers of EEOC
		7. Executive Order #11246 requires all agencies receiving federal funds develop affirmative action plans
	B. The goals of equal employment opportunity
		1. Intended to end unlawful employment discrimination
			a. police agree with minority officer representation of communities
			b. dispute as to whether affirmative action is proper means to that end
		2. Increased employment of minorities will improve quality of police service
			a. minority officers will:
				i. be better able to relate to minority citizens
			ii. will not engage in discriminatory behavior
			b. little evidence that behavior is affected by race or ethnicity of officer
			c. no study has found differences in arrest patterns by officer race or ethnicity
		3. Adding minority officers will alter the police subculture 
			a. through peer pressure affective attitudes and behaviors of other officers
			b. some evidence to support this argument
			(EX: The National Black Police Officers Association (NBPOA))
		4. More minority officers may improve perception of the department
	C. Signs of progress
		1. Employment of African-Americans and Hispanics has significantly increased since early 1970s
		2. Ethnic and racial minorities are greatly underrepresented in supervisory positions 
		3. Discrimination by assignment
			a. in the past, incompetent officers assigned to minority neighborhoods, 
			assigned as a form of punishment
			b. no data to prove this exists today
			c. union contracts, which  limit opportunity for departments to engage in assignment discrimination
	D. Employing newly arrived ethnic groups
		1. Benefits of hiring members of these groups
			a. economic
				i. alleviate reluctance of crime victims to cooperate with police and testify in court
				ii. expedite case processing by facilitating communication
				iii. patrol officers can educate newcomers in community about police practices
			b. help increase public safety--overcome misunderstandings that create dangerous situations
				(EX: cultural misinterpretations in car stops)
			c. intangible benefits
				i. native born officers receive cultural understanding
				ii. this enhances department professionalism
				iii. improves public perception of the department
	E. Does the color of the officer make a difference? traditional assumption
		1. assigning racial and ethnic officers to minority neighborhoods will improve PCR
		2 Weitzer study-no support for this assumption
		3. Overwhelming number of residents:
			a. expressed preference for racially mixed teams of officers
			b. or said that race does not matter

XII. Improving police-community relations
	A. First step is to acknowledge that PCR problems exist
	B. Special police-community relations units
		1. Created in most big-city departments in response to urban riots of the 1960s; 
		designed to improve relations with minority communities
		2. Programs
			a. speaking at schools and to community groups
			b. ride-along programs
			c. neighborhood storefront offices
				i. staffed by PCR unit officers
				ii. CPOs are assigned to these offices are engaged in community activities
		3. Critics questioned effectiveness of PCR units
			a. Crime Commission-"public relations puff"
			b. most officers did not regard PCR units as essential 
			c. ride along programs
				i. attract those who already have favorable views of the police
				ii. do not reach people who have serious complaints about police
				iii. many departments have abandoned these programs
				iv. some have been replaced by Citizen-Police academies
			d. PCR programs more successful with groups who already have favorable views of the police
				i. whites
				ii. homeowners
				iii. older people
			e. less successful with racial minorities
	C. Race relations and human relations training
		1. Most police academies have this type of training
		2. No research has established a direct connection with this training to:
			a. improved officer behavior or 
			b. improved public attitudes
		3. Value of classroom training is questionable
			a. content of most diversity training has not changed much since the 1960s
			b. tends to perpetuate negative stereotypes of racial minorities
			c. focuses on individual officers and ignores organizational problems
			d. classroom training only may not be sufficient; on-the-street behavior is important as well
	D. Language training for non-English speakers
		1. Language barriers create barriers to the delivery of police services
		2. Barriers likely to arise 
			a. when citizen speaks language other than English that an officer does not speak
		3. Officer response
			a. "muddle through"
			b. utilize "street Spanish"-phrases learned on the job
			c. command Spanish-formal training
			d. find a bystander who can translate
	D. "Best practices" in policing
		1. Justice Department report (2001)
			a. comprehensive policy requiring officers to report all uses of force
			b. open and accessible citizen complaint procedure
			c. early warning system to identify potential "problem" officers
			d. improved police training
			e. traffic stop data collection
			f. improved recruitment, hiring and retention of officers
		2. Recommended best practices important for improving PCR
			a. victims of police abuse are disproportionately minority citizens
			b. program to control use of force likely to reduce abuse of minorities
	E. Community policing and improving PCR
		1. Represents a comprehensive philosophy of policing
		2. May better address on-the-street behavior than most traditional PCR programs
		3. Community policing addresses whole community-not just minorities 

XIII. Conclusion