Monday, June 29, 2020

Myth No. 4 Community policing empowers communities.

Could addressing performance appraisal with community input, and departmental funding review and allocation play a role in changing the paradigm?
Advocates of this approach argue that the community should bring concerns to the police, developing joint strategies for resolving those problems, which gives cities and neighborhoods more control over crime-fighting. According to one of the movement’s founders, Robert Trojanowicz, this arrangement “empowers average citizens.”

Research shows that police give up little power in this process. University of Washington professor Steve Herbert, evaluating community policing in Seattle, found that the police were actively involved in deciding who constituted the “community,” systematically excluding voices critical of law enforcement. Similarly, a 2019 study in Los Angeles showed how officers made their own decisions about who was a legitimate community actor: For example, in zoning discussions they lent support to corporate chain stores over mom-and-pop businesses, in an effort to create a more easily policed environment. (The former are more likely to have their own security forces and surveillance cameras.)
Alex S. Vitale is professor of Sociology and Coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College and the author of “The End of Policing.”

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