Since the controversial shooting of Michael Brown on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, a national debate on police, race, social status and ethnicity has become the new norm of America. Unlike the initial criminal justice reform debates that were fueled by over one hundred days of continual public protest that eventually erupted into riots and looting in Ferguson, the continued wave of unrest still emanating from Urban America has begun to spark calls for aggressive legislative reforms for improving police initial contact with citizens from multi-ethic communities. In addition, court-enforceable consent decrees have been issued by the Department of Justice to institute police reforms in departments that have found themselves lacking a fortified Urban Portfolio after a catastrophic incident between police and multi-ethic communities.
When asked about the best scientific approach? The response is often, “find the best practice.” From the current state of police and urban relations nationwide, previous alleged best practices regarding effective community policing have not improved the historically poor relationship between police and the urban community particularly when engaging Black, Hispanic and Latino males. Most POST standards only require new recruits and cadets to do four to eight hours of social programming over six months of training. Many police and law enforcement agencies grossly lack diversity within their academy classes, training staff, command staff and executive leadership. This further exacerbates stereotyping and biases of race, culture, social status, gender and religion due to the department’s culture of a direct lack of knowledge. This creates the “us against them syndrome” in law enforcement.