Diversity in law enforcement has grown to become a hot topic within the law enforcement community. The demographic of society has changed dramatically over the last 20 years and with that law enforcement has been changing, but have they been changing enough? Different law enforcement agencies have their own ways of implementing diversity in their practices and procedures, some of them are better than others, but with issues that happen today it is important that they do something. There have been major incidents in our generation that have caused the need for diversity reform in law enforcement.
The biggest incident was the attacks on the United States of America that occurred on September 11th, 2001. The attacks that occurred on this day caused great hate for the Middle Eastern culture. According to huffingtonpost. com there have been multiple occurrences of violence against the Middle Eastern culture post 9/11. The one that stuck out to me the most was “Sept. 15, 2001 – Mesa, Ariz. : Four days after the infamous attacks of 9/11, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a 49-year-old Sikh, is shot and killed outside the gas station he owned by Frank Silva Roque. When police approached to arrest him, Roque says, I’m a patriot and an American.
I’m American. I’m a damn American. ” (huffingtonpost. com) Tragedies like this call for reform in how we police these communities, people have developed unfair bias’ towards people they know nothing about, and it is up to law enforcement to protect and serve the community, no matter what race, religion or what have you. History proves that minorities have always been treated lesser than the majority. The biggest historical incident that proves this is the enslavement of Africans in America. Africans were brought into America under the worst conditions, they were treated like animals, and disregarded as ignorant, and inferior.
Ever since Lincoln freed the slaves with the emancipation proclamation there has been great hate towards this culture. There were groups formed, such as the Ku Klux Klan that’s soul purpose was to get rid of African Americans. Following this African-Americans were always treated as unequal to the white male. They were segregated and found it utterly impossible to gain any ground in society. How could they? African Americans rarely got the opportunity to get an education or have a good job. Hate crimes have continued to be a very real issue for African Americans. According to civilrights.
org “Despite the election of our nations first African-American President, African Americans remain by far the most frequent victims of hate crimes…On election night in 2008, Ralph Nicoletti and Michael Contreas, both 18, and Brian Carranza 21, of Staten Island, New York decided shortly after learning of Barrack Obama’s election victory to find African Americans to assault…The men drove to a predominantly African American neighborhood in Staten Island where they came upon a 17 year old African American who was walking home after watching the election at a friends house.
One of the men in the car yelled “Obama” Then, the men got out of the car and beat the youth with a metal pipe and collapsible police baton, injuring his head and legs. The men went on to commit additional assaults that night. ” (civilrights. org) Again, here is another prime example of why it is important to reform diversity in law enforcement and think of creative ways to educate and police these communities.
There are some law enforcement agencies that are taking a proactive approach by implementing diversity training programs for their employees as well as the citizens in their communities The Bakersfield Police Department is a good example of this. According to an interview on usmayors. org, Bakersfield is one of the most diverse cities in the state of California. The Police Department there does what they think is necessary in order to train their officers on how to deal with the variety of cultures in the city.
“The Bakersfield Police Department also presents cultural awareness training during in-house advanced officer schools. This training is not sensitivity training nor is it designed to get the officer to adopt the characteristics of other cultures, rather it helps the officer gain an understanding of the differences between cultures. ” (usmayors. org) It is programs like this that are going to make a huge difference in the hate crimes we see today. If we have officers that know the cultures and can police accordingly, they can make a difference in someone’s life.
Not every department is as lucky as Bakersfield PD. There are places that may have poor practices, and care very little about diversity. It wont make a difference if we leave it up to the local government to develop diversity practices and procedures, because it would most likely get put on the back burner. This is something that needs to be mandated at a state level. If we implement statewide diversity practices and procedures that are enforced at the local level I believe that we would see a great change in our communities.
We are all the human race, and I think it is sad when people forget that. Diversity should not be a controversial issue in society. I think with equality and cultural awareness being taught in our schools today we will soon see the end to “the minority” and focus more on the fact that we are all human. Reference: http://www. civilrights. org/publications/hatecrimes/african-americans. html http://www. huffingtonpost. com/mobileweb/2012/08/07/history-of-hate-crimes-against-sikhs-since-911_n_1751841. html http://www. usmayors. org/bestpractices/diversity_10_99/diversity_ca. html.