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Contacts Between the Police and the Public, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 473

Essay
  1. Summarize the “police-community relations” publication you read.

I read the article “Contacts Between the Police and the Public, 2005”, written by Matthew R. Durose, Erica L. Smith and Patrick A. Langan. In the text, the authors provide a large amount of statistical data that discusses police encounters with the public in general as well as in terms of sub-categories, such as ethnic classifications (i.e., police contact with whites, blacks and Hispanics) and age classifications. The survey thus provides a broader view of the nature of contacts, while also breaking these police-community contacts into more specific categories that lets the reader know the context and nature of such contacts. The text is exemplary in its thoroughness in regards to such data.

Furthermore, the authors note the type of contact that occurred, for example, was physical force utilized, as well as if police initiated contact. For example, the article observes that 1.6% of police contacts with the public included either the use of force or the threat of the use of physical force. This number is placed in perspective with previous surveys, where the number was approximately the same, thus suggesting that encounters that are characterized by either the use of force or the possibility of the use of force remain the same: the data indicates therefore that the nature of contacts have not radically changed. The data that constitutes the article was collected from the “Police-Public Contact Survey” (PPCS), and used about 80,000 individuals, while 16,294 individuals were treated as “noninterviews.” The text therefore provides extensive and valuable information concerning a variety of police-community contacts, from the perspective of those who were in fact contacted by the police. The article therefore tries to prevent a view of police practice not from the view of police practice itself, but rather from the standpoint of those that are affected by police practice. The very nature of the article can be said to attempt to provide an objective look at policing practice, learning about trends in police-community contacts, while also suggesting areas for potential improvement.

  1. Provide your personal opinion of the publication’s findings and support for your opinion.

The findings provide invaluable quantitative data, as it concerns many different types of categorization with which to understand the nature of police-community contacts. In this regard, it does not provide a simplified approach to these relations, but a highly nuanced one that allows one to think about the issue from different perspectives and viewpoints.

I would nevertheless like to highlight one problem in the methodology: the surveys were only conducted in English, as noted in the methodology section. This omits potentially valuable information to the survey and can be considered an exclusionary practice. This would have furthermore increased the 80% response rate the article mentions, and add yet another viewpoint on the nature of police-community interactions.

  1. For your information.

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