Arlington, TX: A Community Policing Story Arlington, TX - A Community Policing Story - Page 9

Introduction The film Arlington, TX: A Community Policing Story, which runs for 28 minutes, examines the challenges of policing in the 21st century, particularly at a time when the public has been increasingly examining and challenging the fraught—and sometimes tumultuous—relationshi p between law enforcement and communities of color. The film follows the Arlington Police Department as it navigates a series of widely publicized and profoundly challenging tragedies: the gang-related homicide of 18-year-old Carl Wilson, 1 the death of 19-year-old Christian Taylor in an officer-involved shooting, 2 and the deaths of five officers ambushed in the neighboring city of Dallas, Texas. 3 Arlington Chief Will Johnson emphasizes the perennial importance of clear-eyed, organizational leadership The police and community are very during this time of national introspection in which “the American people are familiar with one another. You can talk renegotiating the social contract [of] what it means to police in [our country].” The to any of these residents, and they’ll film identifies these present-day tragedies, compounded by historical circumstances, tell you who their beat officer is, who as an opportunity rather than a roadblock for law enforcement leaders, criminal their sergeant is, who they call.” justice practitioners, academic researchers, and community advocates around the — Deputy Chief LaTesha Watson country to challenge and subsequently Arlington Police Department reimagine the landscape of the criminal justice system—especially at times of widespread public scrutiny. “ As a key element of this reimagining, trust building between law enforcement agencies and the communities they are sworn to serve remains not only a fundamental principle of community- oriented policing but also a cornerstone for crisis management in the 21st century. Indeed, as Chief Johnson states, “that basic relational bridge is the glue that keeps communities together when they’re dealing with circumstances that nobody wants to go through.” This perspective and the Arlington Police Department’s community policing initiatives, particularly its coordination of National Night Out and its Mentoring Arlington Youth (MAY) Program, 1. Ryan Osborne, “Killer of Arlington Martin Football Player Gets 30 Years,” Star-Telegram, February 19, 2016, http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/fort-worth/article61323007.html. 2. Patrick McGee and Manny Fernandez, “Arlington, Tex., Officer is Fired in Fatal Shooting of Christian Taylor,” New York Times, April 11, 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/12/us/arlington-tex-officer-is-fired-in-fatal-shooting- of-christian-taylor.html. 3. “Sniper Ambush Kills 5 Officers, Injures 7 in Dallas Following Peaceful Protest,” NBC 5, July 7, 2016, https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Protests-in-Dallas-Over-Alton-Sterling-Death-385784431.html. 1