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Camille Lindquist
Nathan Cole
English 2010-075
30 April 2015
Proposal Final Revision
Together There Can Be a Change
Today it would be hard to find an American that isnt aware of the racial tensions found
between many of this countrys Law Enforcement Agencies and the minority citizens they are
called to protect and serve.

In August of 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen from

Ferguson, Missouri, was shot and killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson. This incident
and others involving the deaths of unarmed black men and teens at the hands of police officers in
Cleveland, New York, and most recently South Carolina have only deepened the divide and have
led to protests country wide. Some of these protests have become violent and have resulted in
the burning down of businesses and the shootings of three officers, two of which died.

Business burned to the ground during


Ferguson, Missouri protests in August 2014.
(Hayes)

Man participating in Ferguson,


Missouri protests November 2014.
(Fader)

Memorandum for two New York City police


officers ambushed and killed in December 2014.
(Pavlich)

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The most recent shooting occurred on April 7th, 2015 in North Charleston, South
Carolina. Amateur video was released of Walter Scott, an unarmed 50 year old black man, being
shot in the back by Michael Slager, a white police officer for North Charleston (White). Many
of the black men that were victims of these shootings were accused of committing a crime, but in
most cases not a crime that justifies being shot by police.
Because of the economic recession the United States has experienced over the past
several years, Americas local economies have seen overwhelming declines in budget dollars. As
a result law enforcement agencies have taken a direct hit in their funding and have had to make
drastic cuts in the amount of training hours made available for their officers (Cops). In light of
recent events discussed previously, increased funding is necessary to be able to boost the amount
and the types of training our countrys police officers receive. By doing this they will be more
prepared to deal with situations they encounter within the minority communities they serve and
will be better able to engage in effective conversation with the communitys minority leaders
and work to rebuild the broken trust that many agencies have with the diverse neighborhoods
they serve.
First, we need to increase funding given to law enforcement agencies so that their officers
can be given more hours and a wider variety of training. Often, because of budget cuts, police
officers only receive the physical training that has to do with policing. While this is important,
they also need training that helps deal with everyday situations and their interactions with the
public. Officers need to be trained to recognize the needs and increasing diversity of the
communities (they) serve. An inherent aspect of that service is an officers cultural
understanding, an appreciation for the diversity of their communities, and its implications for

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members of the police profession. In an inherently diverse society, it is important for officers to
understand the motivations and concerns of those whom they serve (Glenn).
On December 18, 2014 President Obama signed an executive order creating a twelve
member Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The task force met for the first time on January
13, 2015, to discuss ways to cultivate trust and create firm relationships between communities
and law enforcement officials. The Presidents task force was told by government and law
enforcement officials that they felt better training would go a long way to helping improve
relationships in our country that has been divided for months on this racially charged issue
(Swarts).
President of the National Latino Peace Officers Association, Andrew Peralta, makes the
claim that because of budget cuts, training sessions have been reduced and the sessions they do
have mainly focused on life or death situations and the self-defense skills the officers would
need. He goes on to say when youre trainings are all about shooting, handcuffing, the physical
part and not about the verbal part it can create an imbalance (Swarts). When police are faced
with a volatile situations, but have not received proper training on how deescalate the situation,
they may fall back on their training to use force when there may be a more appropriate way.
The president of the International Association of Chiefs, Richard Beary, told the
Presidents task force that there wasnt enough money to train police officers in behaviors needed
in community relationships. He pointed out the state of Florida, who because of budget cuts,
right now authorizes $67 per officer per year for training. That is what we are up against
(Swarts).

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The National Criminal Justice Association did a study in 2013 that found that since 2010,
grants given to law enforcement agencies by the Justice Department had reduced by 43 percent
(Swarts). This is an area where the nation can improve. As the Presidents Task Force meets
with government and law enforcement leaders, they need to outline areas of training that need
improvement and then allot the funds required to better educate Americas police officers.
Government officials may argue that they dont have the moneys to give their law
enforcement agencies the needed funding for increased trainings. But the truth of the matter is
that they cannot afford not to provide the funding need for appropriate training. Lawsuits can be
brought up against government entities such as towns, cities, and counties if their officers of
the law violates federally protected rights of another, causing damage. Under 1983, a
governmental entity are only liable in cases where some policy, custom, rule, ordinance,
causes the employee to commit the violation or where the entity has failed to supervise,
discipline or train the employee and this failure leads to a foreseeable constitutional
violation(Training). This makes clear that the government entities are responsible for making
sure their officers receive appropriate training or they can be held responsible through a costly
lawsuit.
Another solution in this proposal is to have intelligent discussions begin between
Americas minority community leaders and the Law Enforcement leaders in that same
community. We need leaders that are willing to put their differences aside and listen to each
partys concerns and to also be willing to honestly look at themselves and the group they
represent and take responsibility for their part of the problem. If community leaders can be
proactive and come up with solutions to lessen the divide felt by minority Americans and police
officers, they could avoid future conflicts before they happen.

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This was demonstrated in Boston during the 1990s in what is now known as the Boston
Miracle. During the 90s the murder rate in Boston dramatically decreased from 152 homicides
in 1990 to 31 in 1999. This extraordinary decline was attributed to the Ten Points Coalition that
was initially organized by black ministers of all different faiths, but eventually included a
partnership with the Boston Police Department. The Coalitions goal was to work together on
the problem of youth violence that had seen a dramatic increase in the 1980s and early 90s.
The event that spurred on the idea of the coalition was when gang members entered Morning
Star Baptist Church in Mattapan, a neighborhood in the inner city of Boston, during the funeral
of an opposing gang member and attempted to stab an attendee. This was a final straw for many
ministers and they decided to get involved. When the black ministers created the coalition, they
were not interested in working with the police. Many of them had very hard feelings toward law
enforcement officers and felt they were part of the problem. One of these ministers that had
strong feeling against police was Reverend Eugene Rivers, a Pentecostal minister. He was very
outspoken on his feelings towards police officers and was known by the police department as a
cop basher(Winship).
But as the ministers began their work, they realized that working alongside the police
would be beneficial to their cause so they began inviting them to forums. These forums included
social workers, criminal justice agents, law enforcement officials, the ministers, and the youth
that were involved in gangs. The goal of these forums was to encourage these kids to make the
choice to get away from the gangs that they were involved in and in return the ministers and
social workers would help them with problem in their families, to locate jobs, and with their
schooling. But if they chose to continue to run with the gangs and committing crimes they
would be sent to jail. Having the police at these forums let the kids know that the ministers

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meant business but also gave the police an opportunity to get involved in helping the youth
change their life around (Winship).
Both sides of the police/minority issue will most likely find it difficult to acknowledge
that they have behaviors that they can change or issues they can compromise on. But as the
Boston Miracle demonstrated, even those members of the public that held the most hostility
for each other were able to put the conflict they had with each other aside for the betterment of
the community.
Americas law enforcement officials and its minority citizen have many challenges that
most definitely need to be addressed. Serious aberrations have taken place by some of the
countrys police officers over the past several months. But it is important not to lose hope. The
government needs to provide funding for adequate training for their law enforcement agencies
and then those agencies need to take what they learn and begin a honest and productive
conversation with its minority communities that they serve.

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Works Cited
"COPS: Community Oriented Policing Services." COPS Office: Impact of Economic Downturn.
n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2015. <http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/Default.asp?Item=2602>.
"Fact Sheet: Task Force on 21st Century Policing." The White House Presidents Barack Obama.
Office of the Press Secretary, 18 Dec. 2014. Web. 01 Apr. 2015.
<https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/12/18/fact-sheet-task-force-21stcentury-policing>.
Fader, Lainna. "Racism Kills. #Ferguson (Photo Credit: Adrees Latif/Reuters) Glenn, Russell W.
Http://t.co/neccVjk4Hx Pic.twitter.com/49goNZ3PSG." Twitter. Twitter, 24 Nov. 2014.
Web. Apr. 2015. <https://twitter.com/lainnafader/status/537108203302301697>.
Glenn, Russel W. "Chapter 4." Training the 21st Century Police Officer: Redefining Police
Professionalism for the Los Angeles Police Department. Santa Monica, CA: RAND,
2003. 92. Print
Hayes, Bryan. "Lt. Gov: Obama Pressured Missouri Governor to Make National Guard Troops
STAND DOWN While Ferguson Burned." Top Right News. Top Right News, Inc., 24
Nov. 2014. Web. Apr. 2015. <http://toprightnews.com/report-obama-pressured-missourigovernor-to-have-national-guard-troops-stand-down-while-ferguson-burned/>.
Pavlich, Katie. "Tragedy: Murdered NYPD Police Officers Taken From Wives, Child Days
Before Christmas." Townhall.com. N.p., 20 Dec. 2014. Web. Apr. 2015.
<http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2014/12/20/tregedy-assassinated-nypdpoliceofficers-taken-from-wives-children-days-before-christmas-n1934203>.
Swarts, Phillip. "Police Need Better Training and Community Relations, Presidential Task Force
Is Told." Washington Times. The Washington Times, 13 Jan. 2015. Web. Apr. 2015.
<http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/13/police-brutality-solutions-are-

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training-community-/?page=all>.
"Training Liability & Use of Deadly Force." PoliceLink. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.
<http://policelink.monster.com/training/articles/2065-training-liability-use-of-deadly-force->.
"White SC Officer Charged with Murder for Shooting Black Man." Fox News. FOX News
Network, 08 Apr. 2015. Web. 08 Apr. 2015.
<http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/04/08/white-sc-officer-charged-with-murder-forshooting-black-man/>.
Winship, .Christopher. "End of a Miracle? Crime, Faith, and Partnership in Boston in the
1990's." End of a Miracle? Crime, Faith, and Partnership in Boston in the 1990's
Christopher Winship Harvard University March 2002: 6-8. Scholar. Harvard. Harvard,
Mar. 2002. Web. 7 Mar. 2015.
<http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/cwinship/files/end_of_a_miracle_0_0.pdf>.