Racial profiling is a prejudiced act done by law enforcement when an individual is targeted as a suspicious being due to characteristics such as race, skin color, ethnicity, religion, etc. Those characteristics then become the principal factors when a police officer is making decisions. Racial profiling has become a common concern and longstanding problem in many ethnic groups and communities of the U.S. Racial profiling happens because law enforcement officers often develop a style of policing, based off of their own experiences, that can degrade and scare members of minority groups. Police officers are taught to make judgements about situations and people, and one bad experience with a certain individual can result in behaviors that are discriminatory to others of the same background and cause officers to abuse one’s discretionary power.
This leads to patterns of stereotypes that are driven by institutional racism, which is exceedingly dangerous. Racial profiling is a harmful approach to policing and it is something that police officers do not need to do. Racial profiling violates an individual’s rights and liberties when they are stopped solely because of their race. It can also make an entire community feel unsafe and that can diminish the trust between an officer and a citizen. It is also ineffective because studies show that non-white individuals have more arrests, yet poor, disadvantaged individuals are more likely to receive coercive actions. A community policy with a focus on the tactical dimension would provide a guided practice that directs how officers carry out certain job tasks and that can help prevent the practice of racial profiling. “The tactical dimension of community policing ultimately translates ideas, philosophies, and strategies into concrete programs, practices, and behaviors” (Cordner pg. 439).
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The three beneficial components of the tactical dimension include positive interactions, partnerships, and problem solving. With the practice of more positive interactions between police officers and citizens, the more trust and support people will have towards our law enforcement. With more partnerships between law enforcement and the community, there can be more citizen participation in helping prevent crime. Lastly, with more focus on problem solving, crime rates can go down and lead to a better quality of life within these communities. To conclude, racial profiling is a huge problem that can be obstructed and replaced with better tactics and policies. It is a harmful approach that has caused much unneeded distress in disadvantaged communities. Hopefully, in the future, race can stop being the primary factor in what actions these police officers make.
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