Dec 5, 2021
In modern society, several pertinent ethical debates concerning the behaviors and practices of law enforcement agencies have positioned themselves at the forefront of our socio-political discourse. The ethical standards of several police departments in Los Angeles have been denoted towards a negative connotation in the eyes of its surrounding communities; a multitude of citizens from areas with diverse cultural demographics have been publicly oppressed in their neighborhoods through methods of over-policing, brutality, and other aggressive tactics that have manipulated the consensus on the topic of police for many individuals. There has been a considerable lack of consequence or reprimanding for many of the cases surrounding these malicious circumstances, coupled with a unique sense of inaction regarding the much-required institutional adaptations needed for Los Angeles-based policing systems. L.A.’s police system requires a substantial transformation from its current community-policing tactics to develop a considerably healthier dynamic between law enforcement and civilians, simultaneously investing in community-outreach initiatives, positive communication tactics, and abolishing unscrupulous police practices.
The Los Angeles Police department is recognized globally for its capacity to abuse its operational powers and systematically oppressed communities of color. The agency is infamous for instigating many violent altercations between law enforcement and civilians, engaging in aggressive behavior often leading to physically violent (and sometimes fatal) disputes to occur. The Los Angeles Police Department’s actions dissolve any possibilities of a positive relationship between themselves and the communities they serve. Immediately following the effects of quarantine, the summer saw a substantial rise in social activist initiatives in direct response to community retaliation against police brutality on a nationwide scale. Reports described the events surrounding waves of policy-oriented violence as a “reign of terror,” citing multiple shootings of unarmed civilians, aggressive interactions between civilians and officers, and the escalation of social conflicts that lead to prevalent tension between the two parties. This notion has led to a stark dichotomy between the LAPD and the members of its various communities, demonstrating the adverse effects that malicious police operations had led to. “Police leaders have put forward accounts of each killing that they say to justify the use of force. But civil rights activists and victims’ families say the repeated bloodshed is a sign that police continue to escalate conflicts and resort to violence, even in the most routine of encounters – and that a more radical response is needed to prevent the next tragedy… LASD is the largest county police agency in the U.S., with jurisdiction in nearly 200 different towns and cities, and has a track record of brutality and controversial killings, racial profiling and corruption cases.”. (Levin, 3). The policing system in Los Angeles has been associated within the context of its direct altercation switch with the general public. The killing of unarmed civilians and the strong sense of conflict between both sides of the dichotomy has fueled a considerably virulent relationship based upon the seemingly repeating actions used to solve issues inadequately and efficiently de-escalate ambivalence.
Potential Methods of Solution Tactics
The assistance required to deal with the issues at hand is extensive. The nature of this problem is rooted in the standardization of aggressive methodologies being at the root of police training and the manipulation of community relations with law enforcement to be allocated towards destructive actions. Understanding empathy and utilizing the concept in community relations with the people(s) afflicted the most is crucial to comprehend the nature of police-community interactions. Many of these neighborhoods are actively disinterested in developing a healthy dialogue with police and incentivize the lack of nutritional communication standards to continue this dangerous narrative. “Racial and gender disparities abound within the criminal justice system and beyond. Many of these communities are made up of low-income neighborhoods with diverse racial demographics and a high percentage of black and Hispanic individuals, disproportionately affecting the livelihoods of minorities in Los Angeles. Males of color make up an unsettling majority of those stopped, arrested, and convicted of violent crimes in major cities all over America. They are also the majority of violent crime victims and are far more likely to be subjected to police force…Policing does not exist in a vacuum. It is a reflection of a country rife with racial disparity, which must be addressed in employment, healthcare, housing, education, and beyond.”. (Moore, 2-4). The correlation between race and police aggression is a necessary factor to consider when discerning the root of the attitudes taken when dealing with minorities from the responsibilities held by law enforcement officers—having a clear understanding of this dynamic and its subsequent issues coupled with the context of the historical relations between the two have to be analyzed to fully grasp the nature of the problem and any potential solutions in the attempt. Local political initiatives have been incentivized and propagated in recent times due to social backlash and numerous outcries for community legislators to create viable solutions to the issue. However, adequate assistance and community outreach programs must be invested if the point of de-escalation and the development of cordial, healthy communication tactics are created.
A survey would be conducted under the context of analyzing to dismantle oppressive practices of police aggression and the use of violent tactics in various communities with a particular area of interest in establishing relatively healthy methods of communication and interaction from the perspectives of both sides. Surveys in the form of questionnaires will be distributed to communities with the most active police presence in Los Angeles. Prevalent communities such as Skid Row, South LA, Lincoln Heights, and Hyde Park (neighborhoods with high crimes rates and heavy, active police presence) to gauge the public consensus on police-civilian relations to apply a relevant methodology in seeking for solutions to create better forms of communication between members of communities afflicted with prevalent police interaction. This would consequently allow law enforcement or create foundational grassroots initiatives to connect with community members on a more substantial basis, counteracting the negative ramifications of police-community tensions and creating a more equitable ecosystem for positive relationships to develop adequately.
Several viable solutions could potentially amend the toxic relationship between civilians and law enforcement in Los Angeles. The very root of the problem stems from critical factors that influence the trajectory of developing relations between both parties; excessive use of physical and lethal force, racial prejudice and discriminatory practices, and a stark lack of accountable consequences issued towards infringed actions are essential concepts of interests concerning the issue of police brutality and police-neighborhood interactions. The problems afflicting these areas can be derived from these three components, allocating their importance to the most significant concern and directing a focused objective towards establishing a solid foundation for new operations.
A foundational option for both police officers and Los Angeles residents to consider would be participating in community relations programs and reforming the entire law enforcement training process to be geared towards empathetic dialogue and practical de-escalation education to standardize the use of acceptable conflict resolution practice and to build a sense of trust among Los Angeles communities and their police department(s). The use of educational programs for police departments (and communities) would effectively solve many of these operational misconceptions and faulty practices in the currently abusive institution. Organizations dedicated to teaching police officers about the core concepts concerning healthy police de-escalation tactics should implement their techniques in Los Angeles to create a status quo for beneficial, efficient policing tactics to be implemented into educational routines. “Programs to improve police-community relations benefit the community by decreasing fear and stress, especially in a community where the presence of law enforcement increases the anxiety of its citizens. A decrease in this anxiety can regulate potential conflict before it begins…These programs to improve police-community relations can benefit police departments by decreasing or de-escalating conflicts that may garner negative consequences, keeping law enforcement and the community in what may seem like an ongoing battle.”. (Police Peacekeeping, 2-4). Programs and networks that encourage officers to resort to “tactical communication skills” (skills used for high-stress and dangerous altercations) and conflict resolution will drastically reduce the apparent need for physical force to be applied during quarrels, and lead to an overall increase in policing efficiency and interpersonal community relations. One study found that “a single instance of positive contact with a uniformed police officer can substantially improve public attitudes toward police, including legitimacy and willingness to cooperate.” (Peyton, 1); this information directly correlates to the notion that creating avenues for these positive interactions to occur through education and congregation will effectively lead to beneficial results.
The nature of police-neighborhood relation is a topic that polarizes opinion. Aggressive acts stemming from non-communicative situations with police officers and (innocent) civilians have developed a sense of tension between both groups, leading to a less-than-favorable dynamic held between members of this evil dichotomy. Active Los Angeles communities must initiate resistance against the normalization of these practices on social and political platforms to dismantle oppressive practices systematically, and violent behaviors carried out by members of a corrupt police force.
Peyton, K., Sierra-Arévalo, M., & Rand, D. G. (2019). A field experiment on community policing and police legitimacy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(40), 19894-19898.
ACLU. (n.d.). Fighting police abuse: A community action manual. American Civil Liberties Union. https://www.aclu.org/other/fighting-police-abuse-community-action-manual.
Levin, S. (2020, September 6). ‘Reign of TERROR’: A summer of police violence in Los Angeles. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/sep/06/los-angeles-police-killings-dijon-kizzee-andres-guardado.
Chang, A. (2020, June 5). LA’s history of racial tensions and Police Brutality, Revisited. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2020/06/05/871083491/las-history-of-racial-tensions-and-police-brutality-revisited.
Moore, M. (2021, June 3). Chief Michel Moore: Inequities in policing are a reflection of a racially biased society. Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2021-06-03/chief-michel-moore-racially-biased-policing.
N/A. (2021, March 3). Programs to improve POLICE-COMMUNITY RELATIONS: Pollack Peacebuilding. Pollack Peacebuilding Systems. https://pollackpeacebuilding.com/police-community-relations-programs/.