"American police confront issues of race, daily, in almost everything they do. They confront race in the geographic distribution of criminality and the fear of crime as well as in assumptions about what criminals look like. They confront race in the suspicion and hostility of many young African American men they encounter on the street. They confront race in complaints from ethnic communities about being either over- or under-policed. They confront race in charges of racial profiling and unequal justice. And they confront race in decisions about hiring, promoting and assigning police officers. In short, race remains an "American dilemma," as Gunnar Myrdal famously observed in 1944 (Myrdal, 1944), especially and inescapably for today's police. The importance of race in policing has been demonstrated in discussions held since 2008 at the Second Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety at Harvard University. At almost every session, race emerged as a troubling preoccupation for police executives. Although many suggestions for dealing with the issue were discussed, the Executive Session did not try to formulate policies to deal with the various issues involving race. Concern about race seemed to become stalled in discussion rather than advancing to action. So, the authors of this article suggested to the Session members that we try to cull an agenda for action from the years of frank, insightful and sometimes passionate conversation. The Session readily agreed. These are the ideas we think are most promising in terms of what police executives might do to alleviate the problems of race in contemporary policing. They reflect what we have learned that might help the most. We alone are responsible for this agenda."
NCJ 248624; National Criminal Justice No. 248624
National Criminal Justice Reference Service: http://www.ncjrs.gov/