Many Americans are now asking difficult questions about the police system in the country. In the wake of issues regarding Black Americans – like the recent case of George Floyd – many are prompted to reflect on the attitude of the law enforcers toward the community. Are cops racist? Or this is just one of the many pictures painted by media.
Cases involving Black Men being Killed by Police Officers
Reports of black men being killed by police officers have brought once again the law enforces on national stories. After the deadly shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the deaths of Eric Garner in New York City and Freddie Gray in Baltimore, numerous studies have been made to provide solutions to this ongoing dilemma faced by authorities, such as mandating the use of body-worn cameras by police officers and training them to properly de-escalate tense situations.
How the media shaped the views of people toward Police Officers
Police agencies are now meticulously examining their police-community relationship, as well as how people view them, particularly concerning racial and ethnic minorities. Most people know how perceptions are often developed by several factors, one of them is based on media depiction.
On a content analysis done on periodicals such as The Philadelphia Inquirer, TIME Magazine, and 60 Minutes from January 2015 to December 2016, it was found out how the police are always portrayed negatively. Their good deeds never dominated the news cycle – in fact, the police were seldom focused, unless these are negative stories.
And sometimes, these stories shape how we view officers in uniforms – with or without proper evidence. Instead of focusing if the procedures done by the police were legitimate, proportionate, and were carried out without prejudice, the media coverage brought the attention of the people to the profile of the officers; thereby leading people to further propose how guilty the police are of racial profiling or institutional racism.
Moreover, some studies have been admittedly acknowledged by some authors to be flawed in the analysis of the number of deaths involving the police. It narrowed done to the group of civilians who were more likely to be shot by the police instead of asking a broader question: How often do officers use fatal force out of all encounters between minority civilians and the police?
Community Policing as means to Harness Better Relationships
Generally speaking, the use of force among cops only becomes necessary – and is permitted – under specific circumstances, with the main purpose of securing the observance of the law or restoring order after persistent persuasion and warnings are found to be insufficient.
Police officers have taken their oath to serve and protect the community without fear or favor. Therefore, as the country moves to better policing reforms, better researches and news reports must also be done to avoid groundless accusations and biased perceptions.
What can the Cops do?
Building trust with the community does not happen overnight. But when the people know that they are being listened to and that the police department is exhausting all means to address the seemingly unending conflict between them and the community, the possibilities of creating a better relationship with the citizens is not impossible. Therefore, police agencies must come up with strategies to improve data gathering and communication with community members. Only when they can present authentic