Public Opinion of Police by Different Ethnic Groups

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Public Opinion of Police by Different Ethnic Groups
CJA 344
March 24, 2014
Benjamin Harm
Public Opinion of Police by Different Ethnic Groups
Cooperation from members of the public is important in order for police officers to effectively fight crime within the community. In order to obtain cooperation from members of the public, police officers must gain their trust and confidence. It has been known that African Americans and Hispanics have lower levels of trust and confidence in police because of racial disparities and racial profiling. This paper will discuss the public opinion of police by different ethnic groups and how racial minorities hold lower levels of trust and confidence in police. The paper will further discuss the November 5, 1992 Detroit Police beating of Malice Green and how members of the community perceived police response after the beating. Express your opinion on the topic

African Americans and Hispanics have lower levels of trust and confidence in police because of racial disparities and racial profiling. Research has also shown that lower-income African Americans hold negative views of police in general. Cooperation from individuals within the community comes from gaining trust and confidence within the police (Tyler, 2005). The public is more willing to cooperate with police when trust and confidence is at a higher rate (Tyler, 2005). If members of the community do not trust the police system, then they will not use it (Tyler, 2005). Research has shown that Whites and minorities help police in three different ways. The first is by reporting crimes and criminals (Tyler, 2005). The second is by working within their neighborhood to fight crime (Tyler, 2005). And the third is by supporting the disbursement of public resources to the police (Tyler, 2005). In 2002, 1,653 New Yorkers were surveyed in regards to the NYPD and policing activities in their neighborhood. Survey questions included: 1.) “How likely would you be to call the police to report a crime that was occurring in your neighborhood?” 2.) “How likely would you be to help the police to find someone suspected of committing a crime by providing them with information?” and 3.) “How likely would you be to report dangerous or suspicious activities in your neighborhood to the police?” (Tyler, 2005) The survey also asked how often the police “use ethnic slurs against people in your neighborhood,” “treat people disrespectfully because of their race,” “abuse people physically because of their race,” and “bully or intimidate people because of their race?” (Tyler, 2005) Results from the study indicated that respondents who were White had higher levels of trust and confidence in police than minorities (Tyler, 2005). Hispanics confidence in police was intermediate of Whites and Blacks (Tyler, 2005). Racial profiling has been a hot topic recently and has influenced citizen’s perceptions of police. Minorities that been stopped due to racial profiling are more willing to voice their dissatisfaction with the police. Minorities who have not been racially profiled but hear stories about racial profiling may be more skeptical of future experiences with police. Research has found that minorities tend to rate officer legitimacy in a more objective manor when stopped by a minority officer (Tyler, 2005). Minorities that are stopped by White officers tend to be more skeptical of the officer behavior (Tyler, 2005). African Americans are the most skeptical of police behavior and especially believe they are treated unfairly when a White officer stops them (Tyler, 2005). Police officers race could be an important factor in improving citizen and officer relations. Having a diverse law enforcement agency can help better develop relationships within the community as well as build trust and confidence, and assist in effective policing by encouraging support and cooperation from citizens of the...
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