Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point of View; Best Practices for Police in Black Areas

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point of View; Best Practices for Police in Black Areas

Article excerpt

Byline: Opio Sokoni

A solution to policing in poor neighborhoods is to use the same model of policing that is in low-crime areas.

Poverty is the main link to crime and violence. Policing cannot solve those problems.

Communities with heavy black populations experience the same drug usage as other communities. However, it is how each community is perceived and thus policed that determine the results.

We know that middle-class black communities commit fewer crimes than poor white communities. Middle-class white communities are molested the least by police.

However, if police were to evenly police middle-class neighborhoods and use informants to heavily go after drug leads, the crime statistics would begin to resemble poor communities.

Also if white communities were the victims of the same type of police stops for minor violations as poor black communities, it would lead to anger and distrust of the police.

It will also lead to the discovery of higher rates of contraband and arrests.

Here are points that will enable smart and respectful policing in majority Black communities. These points will create better community-police relationships, foster accountability and ensure the rights and dignity of citizens being policed.

- Getting to know people of all ages in the community creates positive relationships. This means officers living in or near the area that is being policed. It also means officers getting out of their cars and walking the streets with a positive and professional outward appearance. Police departments must resemble the communities they serve.

- More black cops do not automatically solve the problem. Black cops must go through the same type of racial sensitivity training as other officers. We are all fed a constant diet of negative racial images of blacks in this culture.

- Take each complaint against police officers seriously. Citizens have to know that their complaints are being acted upon. Red flag officers who receive a negative reputation among law abiding citizens. Any officer receiving two or more complaints must receive retraining, removal from the area or suspension depending on the complaints. …

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