Community Policing, Prayer Vigils, New Efforts Try to Heal Racial Tension

A Facebook post from a Georgia police officer captured a lot of attention this week after he described how frightened a Black teen male was when he pulled him over for texting while driving. Some better news is that more community residents are investigating how to bridge police-civilian gaps in understanding through new programs.
Community policing efforts are being stepped up in many U.S. cities to help bridge the racial tension. Georgia office Lt. Tim McMillan knows first-hand what it's like to be misunderstood when police are trying to help. Facebook / Lt. Tim McMillan

A Facebook post from a Georgia police officer captured a lot of attention this week after he described how frightened a Black teen male was when he pulled him over for texting while driving. Some better news is that more community residents are investigating how to bridge police-civilian gaps in understanding through new programs.

Tim McMillan, who identifies himself as a police officer in Georgia, wrote in the Facebook posted that as soon as he went over to talk to the driver, McMillan thought the young black man appeared paralyzed with fear about interacting with the officer - perhaps because of recent widespread coverage of black men getting killed by cops, even during routine traffic stops, suggests Attn. But McMillian went on to explain he simply wanted to warn the driver of the dangers of doing something else while driving.

Some people recommend requiring police officials to undergo racial bias training to eliminate any biases that police officers may have on the job. New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino recently called for statewide bias training of police officers to help fight this issue.

Other communities have embraced community policing, which entails police officers being more hands-on with civilians in their everyday lives. Community policing is meant to foster positive, constructive relationships between police community and local residents.

"Community policing is a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies that 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," the Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services states on the department's website.

Some people are promoting transparency from police departments, including the release of police dash cam footage in instances of police-related fatalities. There also are calls for the demilitarization of police forces, along with the implementation of police body cams to increase accountability on the job.

Other solutions have included decriminalizing certain offenses, such as marijuana possession. Another recommendation is to help treat mentally challenged people rather than instinctively throw them behind bars. The Justice in Policing Toolkit asserts that incarceration has been wrongly used "as a one-size-fits-all" approach by police.

The organization Campaign Zero is also working to create a safer country for the black community through specific solutions regarding police killings, such as limiting police interventions, improving community interactions and ensuring accountability.

 

 

Tags : community policing, Racial Issues, police killings, Campaign Zero, police body cams, polish dash cams, racial bias training