Police Relationships with Communities and Populations
In any community a need for proper relations between the police and the community are vital to police work. Once a rapport has been established, individuals among the community are more enthusiastic when it comes to cooperating with the police. Most important of all, members of society need to see the police as a part of the community, not as a militaristic authority figure whose mere presence is to disrupt the lives of everyone. A Police officer also represents the department he or she works for, and by acting professional and being courteous to all members of society can help leave a good impression to all.
A major advantage the police would have with good community relations would be the cooperation of certain individuals throughout the neighborhood. This cooperation has allowed law enforcement officials to be more effective in many areas of police work and has permitted the gathering of important information that has involved current and past criminal activity. Individuals are more willing to converse as a witness or at least guide the police in a more helpful direction. This is a major advantage for police and alleviates a great deal of foot work.
A disadvantage the police would face is the lack of trust the community would have with the officers. Families, home owners, business owners and so forth would be less willing to participate with educational crime prevention programs that have helped alleviate a great deal of crime throughout the years.
The African American community long before the start of the Civil rights Act of 1964 has been problematic for both the police and the African American. During the Civil Rights movement, police were forced to enforce laws against minority groups while confronting protestors who were against and disagreed with any equality. This behavior placed a tremendous amount of distrust toward police officer. Over the years, police departments have worked hard to build relationships with minorities by forming organizations and have even increased the hiring rate of African Americans. One major concern with police is the use of racial profiling which is a form of discrimination. Police use racial profiling because most believe they can detect a criminal due to their ethnic appearance. Legislation has now forced Departments around the country to have officers to document each individual’s race and ethnicity that is stopped. As time goes by, a positive rapport is being established by the police and the community.
The Asian American Community for the most part has been considered a law abiding circle and for the most part crime free. Since the 1980’s, the Asian community has grown and places such as China Towns are becoming the center for illegal activity. Due to this issue, some police departments are recruiting Asian Americans while others are organizing educations programs specifically aimed at educating the Asian community on the role of policing. Police hope this education will in return assuage any misconceptions the Asian community may have about the police and their role.
The aging population of the senior citizen has become a widespread issue with law enforcement. Though senior citizens do not encounter nearly as much criminal victimization as other groups, many are fearful to crimes and most refuse to leave their homes. Police have formed many great organizations to help educate this aging group of individuals in hopes the training will help lower the level of fear one faces, prevent abuse and prevent one from being victimized. Departments are also educating and training police officers so they can deal with elderly concerns and understand the needs of the elderly and the hardships the elderly face due to changes of life. Police officers and departments are becoming more aware and sympathetic to the needs of our aging population.
Programs for young people have increased traumatically over the last few decades. Studies have shown a very large increase in youths more so then adults with committing crimes such as murder, rape, drugs and so forth. It is believed that youths develop criminal behavior due to their childhood upbringing but the possibility of a successful rehabilitation in our youths is prevailing. Police have set up organizations to help educate our youths with safe sex, drug abuse and other related issues and stress the cause and effects from each. Some police volunteer their services in sport programs to build a bond with the youths and their families.