The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) will hold their annual conference in Kansas City, Missouri March 21-25, 2017. ACJS President, Dr. Lorenzo Boyd encouraged collaboration between the Minorities and Women Section and the Police Section to develop panels on community relations and police reform. Police practitioners from across the country have been invited to ACJS and they also will participate in these panel discussions. The goal of the panels is to discuss strategies for bringing police and communities of color together and to address police reform. Here a list of the panels:
Police-Citizen Encounters: Building Trust and Deescalating Violence
The recent tragedies in Ferguson, Missouri; New York City; Cleveland, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; and Los Angeles, California are a clear indication that police officers need to improve their interaction with members of the community, especially communities of color. These tragedies have illustrated how the use of force can quickly go wrong during police-citizen encounters. This roundtable will focus on strategies and training programs that police departments can adopt to handle difficult encounters and reduce the chances of force or violence being used unnecessarily.
Community Policing: Strengthening Relationships Between Police and Minority Communities
Recent encounters between police and minority communities demonstrate that there is very little trust between the police and the communities they serve, especially in minority communities. This roundtable will discuss the reforms that are necessary to improve the relationship between the police and minority communities.
Addressing Discourteous Officer Demeanor
The citizen confidence and satisfaction in the police is influenced most by the quality of the citizen’s recent contacts with the police. Most often the demeanor of the police determines whether or not the encounter is perceived as negative or positive. Also due to the proliferation of technology, poor demeanor on the part of individual officers is instantly visible to the public. This roundtable will examine the ways in which law police departments can address discourteous officer demeanor and build trust among citizens.
Police and Citizen Fears During Police-Citizen Contact
There is a longstanding fear among black men that almost any encounter with police can be potentially deadly, while at the same time, there is a belief that police officers are fearful of Black males because of the high rate of violence and homicide in some of their neighborhoods. Because of this black implicit bias based on stereotypes, police may view Blacks as threats. There has been little research on fear as it relates to the relationship between the police and citizens. This roundtable will explore these arguments of fear among both Blacks and police during their encounters.
The Need for Transparency When Police-Citizen Encounters Turn Deadly
In the wake of several well-publicized cases of deadly force encounters between police and minority citizens and the apparent lack of accountability, greater attention has been placed on the need for transparency during police-citizen encounters. This roundtable will explore the contours of the body-camera debate and other strategies, such as developing a national database of transparent information, fostering greater community engagement designed to increase transparency, reveal instances of police misconduct, reform police (and civilian) behavior, and building trust between the police and the community, and decreasing the use of deadly force by the police.
Black Lives Matter versus Blue Lives Matter: Addressing the ‘Us versus Them’ Mentality
The Black Lives Matter Movement was initiated as rallying cry of a national protest against the deaths of unarmed black people at the hands of police. The Blue Lives Matter movement was created to honor and recognize the actions of law enforcement to strengthen the public support. Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter not mutually exclusive because it is possible to be against police brutality and still care about the lives of innocent police officers. This roundtable will address the ‘Us versus Them’ Mentality.
Police Violence Against Invisible Blacks: Black Women and Other Marginalized Blacks
The discourse within the Black Lives Matter tends to focus primarily on police violence against black men. However, black women, black homosexuals, black transgender people, and poor Blacks who experience police violence are often ignored in the national conversation on race and police abuse. Discussion on police abuse should be more inclusive and attentive to the intersectionality of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and transphobia which are elements of police violence against certain segments of the Black community. This roundtable will discuss the importance of analyzing police violence against Blacks within a broader context of all black lives matter.
Racial Justice Protests: Addressing Police and Community Conflict
Protests sparked by police killings of unarmed Black men and women have met with considerable condemnation, and in some cases, outright hostility from law enforcement agencies across the United States. Police agencies claim that it is the violence that they are opposed to that has happened during racial justice protests. However, even peaceful protest such as San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem has ignited outrage in White communities and among police agencies. This roundtable will examine ways to address police and community hostility toward racial justice protests with the goal of finding common ground to rebuild relationships.
If you are interested in attending the conference, please go the ACJS Annual Meeting page. You can also visit the ACJS Minorities and Women or ACJS Police Section Facebook pages to learn more about the sections.