Peace & Police

PEACE & POLICE is a nonviolent campaign for social change, aimed at restoring trust and respect between our communities and our police. This campaign is the work of students at Virginia Union University who are majoring in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Many of us will eventually have careers in the field of law enforcement and policing and we want the relationship between the police and our communities to be strong. This Peace & Police campaign is where we offer our thoughts and ideas about how to make this relationship the best it can be.

The Suggestion Box: Making Our Communities Safer by Kameron Shearn

Nov 18, 2015 | by admin

Some of the methods the police use today are ineffective and cause an imbalance within the communities they serve. An anonymous Suggestion Box where community members can share their ideas and information is a way to foster communication between the police and community residents.

Some of the methods that the police use today are ineffective and cause an imbalance within the communities they serve. When the police spend more time looking for crime in certain communities, and engage in activities like racial profiling and questioning, it gives rise to mistrust of the police. As a result, community members are often afraid of giving information to the police, and this makes solving crimes more difficult.

We sometimes see the police abuse their authority. For example, when a police officer pulls someone over and requests to search their vehicle, knowing that many members of the community are not aware of the laws that are there to protect them, police offers can take advantage of this lack of information. When the police engage in these activities like this, it further separates the community from the law enforcers.

This tension between police and the community is also contributed to by some elements that exist in the communities. For instance, there is a sort of “code of honor” in urban society around “no snitching”. The no snitching rule is where members of the community are not to cooperate with local authorities, they are not to tell on a person who committed a crime. This makes the job of the police harder, and contributes to the lack of mutual trust.

Police officers could engage in more community outreach programs to strengthen community trust and build relationships. With the increase in trust, the community members would be more inclined to share helpful information with law enforcement. In the long run, this would benefit everyone.

I would like to suggest a way to improve community relations could be a suggestion box where the community, as well as the police, could place suggestions on how to make the community a safer environment. The suggestion box could act like as a mediator between the two entities, and serve as a way to restore the relationships and trust that have been lost.

The suggestion box could act like a problem solver. If there were any conflicts with the community itself, or problems in the relationship between the law enforcement and the community, the suggestion box is a great way to help improve communication.

The rules of the suggestion box are rather simple. In fact, there is only one rule: express honestly how one feels about any situation or conflict. On the other side, the recipients give the thoughts and words that are shared serious consideration.

The suggestion box would be anonymous, therefore the community members can express

concerns about what is happening within the neighborhood to the police. Law enforcement can leave suggestions for the community to take into consideration, as well.

As the relationship grows and the tension lessens between the community and the authorities, eventually the two entities can achieve a safe environment. The community will start cooperating and the police will improve their tactics. The community could go as far as sharing information about crimes, and eventually the relationship between that police department in the community will unite as one.

Written by Kameron Shearn, a Criminology and Criminal Justice Major at Virginia Union University, where he is a Senior.