05 May 2017
Today, there is a growing issue where citizens view law enforcement with suspicion and distrust, particularly in neighborhoods with a large population of African-American decent. There are various trends and multiple examples of police brutality on unarmed black males in America’s larger cities causing tension between law enforcement and the public in which they are sworn to protect. Through my research, I will investigate the public’s perceptions of their local police in the major cities of the northwest region of the United States. Furthermore, I will explore the police perceptions of the public within their respective jurisdictions. As someone who has worked in law enforcement and plans to continue a career in the field, I am very concerned with some of the perspectives my peers have of police and what I see through the media. Therefore, I plan to use qualitative content analysis focused on the media in regards to the law enforcement, I will conduct personal interviews with police officials that have been involved in high-profile cases, and I further plan to issue blind surveys to residents from low-income and predominately African-American neighborhoods in large cities in the mid-west. With these research tools, I hope to find a clearer look into the source of alienation between police and the black community and how the media shapes the public’s perception on the topic.
“Public opinion in general is sensitive to the influence of major events” (Tuch, 642). In agreement, high profile cases of violence on unarmed citizens can compromise the legitimacy of legal authority (Desmond, 857). In Milwaukee, WI 2004, an unarmed black male named Frank Jude was beaten severely by a number of white on and off duty police officers. Once the incident was made public through the media, there was a noticeable drop in 911 calls. That following year, there were 22,200 less 911 calls in Milwaukee and it took another year for the number to grow back to normal and even longer in black communities (Desmond, 863). The importance of this research is to recognize the source of the negative relations between the community and the police. With this information, I may be able to help grow a safer and a more trustworthy coexistence between the police and the community.
To being the research, I will create a survey sample taken from poor, inner districts in four large cities in the min-western region including: Minneapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Detroit. These four cities have been chosen because they all share trends of high property/violent crimes, high poverty rates and large African-American populations. I would like to include that the results that I receive from the surveys are not intended to represent the whole city. Moreover, due to the fact that I am white and this is a racial sensitive study, I plan to send out the survey...