‘Police leaders with their powerful collective voice
should actively call attention to what needs to be changed’
Communities and police need to improve communication to overcome deep-seated racial divides, a Harvard University study concludes.
“Police leaders with their powerful collective voice should actively call attention to what needs to be changed,” the June 2015 study stated.
The National Institute of Justice and the Harvard Kennedy School collaborated to help find resolutions to issues law enforcement encounter daily regarding race and policing.
Resolving issues of race in policing is not that of police alone, the report says. It adds, “Police need to be supported by policies that address conditions causing criminality and disorder to be concentrated in particular places, especially in communities of color. And police strategies must expand freedom and justice, not just provide safety.”
Law enforcement can improve race relations by engaging the community and managing police organizations. The report calls for officers to have a more active role in the community they serve, like learning the history of the communities they patrol.
“Police should develop the habit of explaining what they are doing whenever they act,” the study adds. By doing so, this dispels the cloud of suspicion looming over a controversial department. Another suggestion is that patrol supervisors frequently evaluate how people contacted by officers feel about their encounter.
Departmental managing would require “protection of human rights” in all aspects of policing. This includes the use of proactive language and attitudes.
The report suggests, “Supervisors at all levels must never tolerate attitudes (often revealed in denigrating language) that excuse differential treatment of particular groups, such as ‘We have to be tough with those people’ and ‘Those people only respect force.’”
The recommendations are the result of an “executive session on policing and public policy.” The 31 participants included representatives of universities, law enforcement and medical experts.