Peace & Police is a nonviolent campaign for social change, aimed at restoring trust and respect between our communities and our police. This campaign is managed by the Alliance for Unitive Justice, but the content is being created by students at Virginia Union University, most of whom are majoring in Criminology and Criminal Justice. This campaign is especially important to these students, because many of them will eventually have careers in the field of law enforcement and policing. They have chosen this field because of their commitment to safe communities and a better world.
The job of law enforcement is to ensure protection and security within the community. The job of the members of the community is to contribute to peace and safety by addressing conflict early, before it escalates, and to support the police in their work when conflict results in crimes being committed.
The relationship between the police and the communities they serve has been undermined in several ways. Reports of police brutality, racial profiling, focusing on certain communities while turning a blind eye to others, are practices that undermine community trust of law enforcement.
At the same time, there are elements in our communities that cause the police to distrust community members. One example is a sort of “code of honor” around “no snitching.” The no snitching rule is aimed at keeping members of the community from telling on a person who committed a crime, and if they do, those whom they report will seek retribution. This makes the job of the police harder, and contributes to the lack of mutual trust.
This problem is made worse by the way the media treats crime, sensationalizing it in order to increase viewers, instead of making accurate information and problem solving the focus of their news reports. We will use social media to restore the brokenness between our communities and our police, by sharing our ideas about some possible solutions and asking others to share their ideas with us. Together, Peace & Police can become a positive force for making our communities safer and the job of policing the respected profession it is meant to be.