With violent protests surrounding innocent killings by acquitted police officers, erupting throughout the United States, it seems as though there are major flaws in our justice system. In my opinion, today, Police Departments are definitely in a crisis. This crisis did not just begin, however, but it has been evolving over many years. Ultimately, this crisis stems from law enforcement believing their only job is to “protect,” and they are willing to do just that, by any means necessary.
Policing today is focused solely on crime, which makes sense. Police are protectors and therefore, much of their focus should be placed on lessening crime. However, putting all their focus on crime, even of the smallest caliber, results in over-policing and mistrust within the community. The city of Newark, New Jersey’s law enforcement and the community is an excellent example of the above. Since the 80s, the Newark Police Department has adopted a model of policing known as “broken windows.” The idea of broken windows policing “maintaining order by policing low-level offenses can prevent more serious crimes” (Childress, 2016). Therefore, police officers in this area would hand out citations for the most minor of offenses. Subsequently, broken windows policing did not make the Newark community feel safer, nor did it curb crime. Instead, the complete opposite happened. The community, especially minorities, felt that they were over-policed, therefore creating more problems. According to an article from Frontline, “frequent stops and citations made people mistrust the police, and much less likely to cooperate when officers were investigating serious crimes” (Childress, 2016). Also, no evidence was ever found that the broke...
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...deral law” (Department of Justice, 2016). Each of these deficiencies, among others, significantly contributes to the violations, by police officers, observed.
There should certainly be a New Era of Policing – one where police officers are given the right tools to perform their job. Instead of just being “protectors” police officers should think about different ways in which they can actually become a part of the community, not just outsiders. Also, instead of Police Officers placing all their focus on crime itself, they should attempt to get to the root of the offenses and alleviating their biases. This can be done through engaging with the community – listening to their concerns and what they believe the biggest issue(s) are in their community. However, until both law enforcements and local communities can come together, a New Era of Policing will be unachievable.
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