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Race And Ethnicity Essay

1855 words - 8 pages

Race and Ethnicity in Police Employment Practices
Isabel R. Rodriguez
University of Phoenix
October 3, 2011
Blanche Cook

Race and Ethnicity in Police Employment Practices
An important part of the United States workforce is made up of police officers. The number of police officers employed has grown drastically over the past few years. However, although the number of police officers employed has increased, public scrutiny has as well. The police employment practices have affected the publics’ perception of the police because of the factors involved as well as the desire to seek employment in law enforcement. The paper below will describe some of the factors involved with race and ...view middle of the document...

Public scrutiny has affected a person’s perception of the police and his or her desire to seek a career in law enforcement because of police misconduct incidents. The sensitivity to misconduct by the police has caused minorities to form a generalized negative opinion based on these actions (Kelly, Guarneri, & Foley, 2007). White tends to see these incidents an individual situation. Minority groups believe race and ethnicity has a major impact on the behaviors and actions of police conduct and are factors to these incidents. Because of this public image, members of racial and minorities groups are less likely to consider a law enforcement career. They are reluctant to work in a system they view as racist. Working in an environment which racial and ethnic tension exists, discourages some minorities from inquire about such work. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (2005), 32.4% of the officers employed were part of a minority group.
Police recruiters look at race and ethnicity when hiring people for employment for several reasons. According to police recruiters, many inequalities that minorities are faced with reflect his or her ability to be successful in police employment. Because of this, the difference in race raises questions regarding the effectiveness of a minority officer versus a White officer. Another factor includes the opinion that minority officers will be more lenient with a person of his or her own cultural, thus make it difficult for the minority officer to apply the law. Cultural influences may dictate the outcome of the officer’s decision. Minority officers believe the law may be too harsh in some instances and are more than likely to seek rehabilitative practices than to seek punishment. These are practices that do not coincide with law enforcement department’s norms. On a more positive note, recruiting more minority officers can help extend the cultural knowledge within the police department allowing room for stronger communication in the community.
The public considers race and ethnicity an issue in the police department because of surroundings problems that have occurred. Many of the problems and conflicts between the community and the police are based on situations involving police misconduct and race. Other issues occur because of an experience one has had with the police because he or she is minority. Early resentments from White officers cause a different outcome when handling a police situation that involves a different race as oppose to his or her own. This begins to shape the perception of the residents that witness these actions. It has been shown that an officer’s attitude and behaviors when dealing with a minority is harsher and unfair. Several situations like the Rodney King story and police brutality where a minority was the victim is viewed by the public and discriminatory behavior solely caused by a person’s race or ethnicity. This creates distrusts and suspicion with regard to the way a police...

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