Diversity Training in Law Enforcement Essay

Total Length: 1588 words ( 5 double-spaced pages)

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Interview with a Metropolitan Police Officer

Diversity training is important for law enforcement because, as this interview shows, it helps officers to be more comfortable, confident, and effective in dealing with diverse members of the community to defuse situations and keep them from escalating to a point where violence and force become necessary.

Summary of the Interview

The person I interviewed is a metropolitan police officer in the local city where I live. I know the individual from grade school days and have kept in contact with him over the years. Now that he is in law enforcement and directly involved in the criminal justice system, and also readily available for an interview, he seemed like the perfect candidate for this assignment.

The focus of the interview was on an incident that the officer was called to involving a domestic dispute between neighbors: on the one side of the dispute were two Caucasians, a male and a female in their twenties, and on the other side were three African Americans in their twenties, two females and one male. The interview included a discussion of race, gender and sexual orientation, as the Caucasian male identified as a homosexual. The dispute was over a parking space in front of an apartment complex: the Caucasians and the African Americans were fighting over who was in the space first and the two cars unwilling to back off ending up colliding. The argument threatened to escalate especially when the community gathered around to watch and film and the people involved in the incident turned on the approaching officer who was sent by the dispatcher to the scene of the incident. The officer called for back-up upon arrival but was able to defuse the situation by directing the two parties to separate so that he could hear both sides of the story, calm both sides and proceed to directing both sides to an agreeable solution that did not involve anyone going to jail and all parties shaking hands and apologizing.

Critical Analysis and Reflection

As Hosner and Gomila (2008) point out, “Community policing is a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies, which support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques, to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime” (p. 17). The officer I interviewed said that community policing was a top priority in his department because the city had experienced racial issues in the past and community policing was meant to help alleviate the symptoms of racial tension.
The police officer was able to build trust among the different racial and gender communities in this incident by calmly communicating with them, defusing tension, and showing that he wanted to hear both sides of the story and help the participants come to an agreeable solution so that no one would have to be taken to court over a potential disturbance of the peace charge. The people involved were willing to talk it out once they realized the officer wanted to assist and help rather than prosecute and find fault. In this way, the officer was able to build trust and everyone watching saw that he was of good will and several people thanked him for his calm intervention afterwards.

The interview showed to me that it is important to go into a situation without bias or prejudice or a desire to judge. The officer could easily have shown up, handed out tickets to the people involved, or arrested several of them for fighting. However, in an effort to build good will in the community, he instead decided to listen to their grievances and, without choosing one side over the other was able to show that in order for them to live together as good neighbors they have to be willing to work things out in a calm, rational manner. When the group saw that he was only being logical in his approach and not trying to bring more trouble to their lives, they appreciated what he was doing and immediately responded with regret for letting things get out of hand. It showed me that sometimes people in a community can lose control of their emotions and let tempers fly. It is important as a….....

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Hanser, R. & Gomila, M. (2008). Multiculturalism and the Criminal Justice System. NY: McGraw-Hill.

Hunter, R., Barker, T., Mayhall. (2011). Police Community Relations and the Administration of Justice, 8th Edition Hunter. NJ: Prentice Hall.

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