Police Training as Adult Education

The communities in which law enforcement personnel are working in the 21st century are as challenging and diverse as ever, and in many cases the diversity is where the challenge itself actually lies. For example, the multiple cultures that exist in the average community in the present day makes it necessary for law enforcement personnel to be extensively trained in cultural sensitivity in order to respectfully deal with many different ethnicities of people in some very trying situations, as well as be able to put aside their own biases and prejudices to objectively enforce the law, regardless of whether or not the officer understands or approves of the background of the victims as well as defendants.This research will focus on the need for law enforcement personnel to have cultural diversity training and a certain level of tolerance for diversity if the personnel are to equally enforce the law for all types of individuals. To achieve this focus, journal articles will be compared and contrasted to better explain the topic overall. The first article focuses on the necessity and effectiveness of cultural diversity training in law enforcement (Barlow & Barlow, 1993), while the second article focuses on the dilemma that law enforcement officers face when investigating crimes against groups that they may not personally care for, as well as the challenge of using their authority correctly in the case of defendants with whom the officer may have ethnic differences (Grattet & Jenness, 2001).

The Two Articles in SummaryBefore the articles used for the research can be accurately compared and contrasted, they must first be summarized. In the article by Barlow and Barlow, the point is made that for decades, there has been an immense challenge within law enforcement to suppress the racism that seems to be boiling beneath the surface in most police departments across the nation, despite the hard learned racial lessons such as the Rodney King incident and the ensuing Los Angeles riots, which left major portions of the city of Los Angeles in ruins, scores of people dead or injured, and leaving behind the question of whether or not diversity emerged from the smoking rubble of the LA riots. Barlow and Barlow make the argument that for all of the cultural and racial diversity training that takes place in law enforcement, not much has actually changed over the years. However, these authors make the point that the training needs to continue to expand in the hopes of resolving some of these long-standing issues.The article by Grattet and Jenness echoes the sentiments of Barlow and Barlow in making the point that diversity is a hard message for law enforcement to heed in such challenging times as the present, but also that certain diverse groups are more susceptible to crime victimization than others because law enforcement, and indeed society as a whole, more or less tolerates the victimization of these groups since in general, the groups are seen by the majority as undesirable in some way.

Generally speaking, both articles discuss the issues of the dynamic between law enforcement, the need for cultural diversity sensitivity for members of law enforcement, and the problems that are related to cultural diversity and the intolerance of some people for those who are different than they.

Comparison and Contrast of the ArticlesBoth of the articles used in this research, for their differences, do in fact touch on the same pivotal issue, which deserves additional consideration- the fact that for all of the efforts in recent years to educate law enforcement personnel in tolerance, understanding and equal justice for all ethnic/social groups, there is mistreatment of some groups which is tolerated by the general public and law enforcement to a certain extent (Grattet & Jenness, 2001), as well as the assertion that there is a sort of instinctual dislike for certain races of people which undermines sensitivity training efforts for law enforcement on all levels (Barlow & Barlow).

ConclusionFinally, based on the analysis of these articles and their conclusions, it is possible to reach an educated conclusion- the training to improve police understanding of diverse communities is not an effective use of police resources, not because diversity training is bad, or that it is unnecessary, but because society as a whole has not been sensitized to diversity sufficiently. Because of this, the overall feelings of the general public spill over into the law enforcement sector, and no amount of training at this point will make much of a difference. Therefore, perhaps police resources would be better used by promoting diversity in law enforcement staffing, rather than focusing on trying to reprogram the mindset of one culture to embrace another.