Arlington, TX: A Community Policing Story Arlington, TX - A Community Policing Story - Page 11

Getting Started: Key Concepts and Definitions Building public trust between law enforcement and communities A series of controversial, widely publicized officer-involved shootings around the country— including the deaths of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and 25-year-old Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland—has brought heightened attention to the “fundamental underlying gap in the ways in which Whites and Blacks view police.” 5 Indeed, for more than three decades, Gallup polls have underscored stark differences between the percentages of US White and non-White respondents who reported “confidence in the ability of their We can be law enforcement officials, local police to protect them.” 6 For example, combined data from 2014 through 2016 and we can be advocates for civil found a staggering 29 percent point gap in which 58 percent of White respondents rights—in fact, we should be the reported “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the police, compared with 29 best advocates for civil rights.” percent of Black respondents. 7 “ In 2016, then president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Terrence M. Cunningham, who at that time was also the police chief of the Wellesley (Massachusetts) Police Department, apologized “for the actions of the past and the role that [the law enforcement] profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color.” 8 In this statement, Cunningham underscored the origins of today’s pervasive crisis in confidence: — Chief Will Johnson Arlington Police Department There have been times when law enforcement officers, because of the laws enacted by federal, state, and local governments, have been the face of oppression for far too many of our fellow citizens. . . . While this is no longer the case, this dark side of our shared history has created a multigenerational—almost inherited—mistrust between many communities of color and their law enforcement agencies. 9 5. Frank Newport, “Public Opinion Context: Americans, Race and Police,” Gallup, July 8, 2016, 6. Justin McCarthy, “Nonwhites Less Likely to Feel Police Protect and Serve Them,” Gallup, November 17, 2014, 7. Newport, “Public Opinion Context” (see note 5). 8. “Statement by IACP President Terrence M. Cunningham on the Law Enforcement Profession and Historical Injustices,” International Association of Chiefs of Police, news release, October 17, 2016, ViewResult?SearchID=2690. 9. “Statement by IACP President Terrence M. Cunningham,” IACP (see note 8). 3