In 2014, with the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown followed by the retributive assassination of two New York City patrol officers, race disparity and police use of force collided to become the top issue in urban America. These incidents have highlighted the need for professional managers and police leaders to critically examine current policing policies and practices.
Against the backdrop of the underlying history and continuing reality of racism in U.S. society, as evidenced by pervasive economic, racial and ethnic, and judicial disparities, this article explores four critical elements inherent in police-community relations and police use of force: the context of race in society, the different perceptions of police based on race, the prevalence of police use of deadly force, and policies on police use of force. The intent is to identify specific actions that local government managers can take to work with their police leaders and the community to build bridges, avoid incidents, and ensure that proper action is taken when a deadly force situation occurs.
This e-document is an article included in The Municipal Year Book 2015.