Do you think the police help make your community safer? How strong is the relationship between the police and your community?
In the wake of Ferguson and other recent high visibility incidents throughout the country in which white police officers killed unarmed black males, increased national focus has been placed on the often frayed relationship between police and the communities they are responsible for serving.
These incidents brought to light longstanding tensions, particularly in communities of color, where trust between community members and law enforcement is often lacking. Recent investigations of various police departments throughout the country reveal shockingly high rates of use of force and officer-related fatalities, particularly involving young men of color. Meanwhile, many police forces in inner-city communities are predominantly white with a majority of officers who do not live where they serve.
Few would dispute that policing is an incredibly difficult and dangerous job, and some police advocates have responded defensively to recent criticisms, noting the challenge of policing populations with particularly high rates of violent crime. But advocates of reform, ranging from local grassroots organizers to Attorney General Eric Holder, argue that certain changes must be made to help build a better sense of community trust in local law enforcement.