Ethnicity and the Police
Law enforcement authorities play a significant role in the modern society. Relationships between people are needed to be strictly governed. Absence of effective regulations will bring to the lawlessness and chaos. The most important spheres of human relations are regulated by the appropriate legislation. Thus, there is the necessity to establish an effective supervising system with an eye to force people to fulfill all formal rules. Police performs this supervision. Not all the people want to be law-abiding, that is why contacts between some groups of society and authorities are very complex. Nevertheless, for most people the law enforcement institutions should play the role of protectors, but not the enemy.
Law enforcement officers are perceived by representatives of different social groups in different ways. The problem of misunderstanding between policemen and common people arose since enforcement institutions were established. In a society there are some groups of people, who do not want to follow the rules and get punishments for their torts. For them the policeman is an extremely negative person, the enemy. The same applies to the various races in the community. According to the researches, conducted over the last two years, the African Americans and the Latinos represent the larger percentage of people with the lack of respect for authorities. The experiment was conducted among the students of different courses at various American universities (Mbuba, 2010). The result shows the positive trend in relationships between the police and teenagers. In spite of this, there are quite large groups, who prefer the asocial life style, and by whom the police are perceived like a threat.
Respect for the law enforcement bodies depends in many respects on its own actions. The behavior of officers strongly influences the relationships with ordinary citizens. Especially it takes place during the contact with children and teenagers. The person who sees the policemen at the first time gains negative or positive impression, which is very strong and becomes the basis of the further attitude (Barrett, Haberfield & Walker, 2011). According to this, there are special outreach programs, which help the children to understand the importance of the legal profession and realize that the policeman is not a threat, but a man, who can help and protect. Nevertheless, much depends on the exact actions of law enforcement officials. According to the interview conducted among policemen from different locations concerning the possibility of the use of weapons, there are different approaches to this issue. Urban policemen are more aggressive and can apply a force even in response to the verbal abuse. Suburban officials are more loyal but also do not exclude the possibility of using the weapon in such cases. Rural officers also do not penalize a suspect for verbal abuse (Barrett, Haberfield & Walker, 2011).
Nowadays, the mass media can improve the people’s attitude to the enforcement authorities. The media is the popular source of getting the information. Information sources, such as the television or radio give the opportunity to acquire all the needed information, which becomes the object of tampering (Mbuba, 2010). Thus, it seems to be reasonable to analyze the flow of information and amend it in such a way that excludes untruthful negative facts about authorities. It is obvious that misdeeds of policemen should be discussed in media, but there is the urgent need to avoid the twisted information about the activity of the enforcement institutions.
The importance of perception and acceptance of the police actions is one of the most important issues in the process of law enforcement. Authorities become the face of justice, that is why they are obliged to act legally and only in favor of the law-abiding citizens. The attitude to the police is largely dependent on the social or race group. Some groups, such as the African American of Latin American, are more prone to disrespect the authorities. This is the result of historical and cultural contradictions (Lurigio, Greenleaf & Flexon, 2010). The large group of teenagers also perceives the authorities as enemies. These problems can be solved by involving the programs of police popularization and development of proper informational policy.