Building Trust in Communities of Color

albany county car saying buzzed driving is drunk drivingImproving relations between police and minority groups has been an ongoing goal of the COPS Office since our founding in 1994. Progress has been made, but as recent events illustrate, many in the African American community still feel that “Cops are out to get us,” while police believe that “None of them care.”

To help effect change, we have sponsored many events and developed numerous publications. One of the most recent of these is Strengthening the Relationship between Law Enforcement and Communities of Color: Developing an Agenda, a report on the findings of a forum which the COPS Office hosted with law enforcement officials, civil right activists, academic experts, community leaders, and policy makers at the Ford Foundation in New York City on April 4, 2014.

Countering Negative Stereotypes on Both Sides

This meeting, one of a series, explored ways to break the cycle of suspicion and cynicism that has undermined relations between law enforcement and communities of color, subverting their ability to work together to build safer communities.

Led by Associate U.S. Attorney General Tony West, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, COPS Office Director Ronald Davis, and Reverend Al Sharpton, the candid discussions and spirited debate revealed important insights, which are documented here. The debate also generated new ideas and practical recommendations which this report compiled in a concrete “agenda for action.”

Stopping and Frisking Fairly

Another new COPS Office publication, which addresses one of the most contentious disagreements between law enforcement and minorities, is Stop and Frisk: Balancing Crime Control with Community Relations. Though police have been using the stop, question, and frisk procedure for decades to protect the public from harm, many minorities feel it is used unfairly, aggressively, and unlawfully in their communities.

While stopping and questioning a pedestrian can be lawful if there is reasonable suspicion that the individual poses an immediate danger, search¬ing requires a higher standard of probable cause. This publication discusses the constitutionality and proper use of stop and frisk as well as the theory and practice behind these street stops. It also examines the unintended consequences of stop and frisk activities and provides practical recommendations for its lawful, respectful, yet effective use.

Obtaining Your Free Publications

To download or order either of these free publications, please visit the COPS Office website. You can also find many additional resources on other topics of interest there.

Faye Elkins
Special Contributor
The COPS Office

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