Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Can Jordan Miles Incident Lead to Improved Relationships and Policing?

In this second report on policing and community relations vis-a-vis a controversial beating and arrest last year, WDUQ looks at some elements that contribute to trust, cooperation and accountability.

The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police has mechanisms for holding officers accountable, but University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris says a lack of communication leads some people to think no discipline takes place.

Former Chief Robert McNeilly says it's important to train police officers annually in ethics, communications and diversity. Some officers should be removed from the ranks, but too often, arbitrators re-instate them even after serious misconduct. David Harris says this is a problem around the country.

A more diverse police force would enhance relations between the police and the community, but attracting minority applicants is a nationwide problem, according to Chief McNeilly and Prof. Harris. While the reasons for this may be several, distrust can be both cause and effect.

Prof. Harris says the Citizen Police Review Board could play a big role in restoring community confidence because it is so well designed and objective, but both city government and the police department have always opposed its operations.

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