The public views policing in an entirely different light as police officers do

Policing Culture

Sabrina Lora


Professor Yawn

July 21, 2019


The public views policing in an entirely different light as police officers do. Policing is a more complex issue than just checking records, responding to crime calls, questioning suspects, or interrogating eyewitnesses (Anderson & Giles, 2005). It is a job filled with challenges that are worsened by the interference of race, gender, and ethnicity differences. The article by the PEW Research Centre provides relevant insights on the views of the white, black, and Hispanic officers, which I believe are relevant to policing today and will benefit police officers.

It is interesting to discover the reasons why police officers today find their work a bit harder than in the yesterdays. Although the findings of the relationship between officers and citizens contrast, I find some of the conclusions a bit more critical. For example, 86% of police officers today find their work harder because of deadly encounters between them and the blacks and that 72% of officers are less willing to stop and question suspicious citizens (Morin, Parker, Stepler, Mercer & 2017). Such findings can allow researchers to formulate ways of identifying why these violence cases apply primarily to the black community and the measures that can be undertaken to reduce the hostility of the blacks towards police officers. It is essential that the research points out that this hostility has affected 93% of officers who are more afraid for their safety (Morin, 2017). The contrasts provided in this article causes a reader to have more questions on the kind of relationship between officers and citizens from different races. While police face numerous cases of hostility from the black community, the views of black officers on various natters contrast sharply to those of white officers. For example, more black officers have a strong conviction that protests characterized by fatal altercations between police officers and black citizens have been motivated by the need to hold officers accountable while only a smaller percentage of their white counterparts agree (Morin, 2017). I find these findings the most important because they raise questions on deeper issues fueled by differences of race.

This report by PEW Research Centre in a big way connects to the course. From the findings, the report gives a similar view of policing. The report, however, does not provide information on the factors that make it difficult for police officers to follow guidelines as they discharge their duties. It instead focuses on the fact that police officers have become reluctant in confronting a suspicious situation as a result of the increase in the confrontations between them and the blacks and subsequently increased black deaths.

The fact that the police and the blacks hold different opinions on the deaths of blacks at the hands of police officers show a profound disconnection of the understanding of issues between the two sides. I believe that the police officers need to give some thought to the concerns raised by the citizens. I agree with the assumption that the findings point to deeper issues between black citizens and the police. The contrast of the views of the public and the police on the ban of assault-type weapons show that policymakers need to harmonize the perspectives of both parties to come up with an alternative because it would be difficult for police officers to use something that the citizens disagree with. It is probably such issues that result in the violence between the citizens and the police officers. It is, however, interesting to learn that on marijuana laws, the citizens and police officers agree. This fact should provide a significant lead in how to bring about cooperation between the police and citizens. I, therefore, believe that the best way to bridge the gap is by considering what both parties believe in and coming up with a neutral solution that both would agree with, just like the use of cameras to record interactions with citizens rather than the use of assault-style weapons. The body-worn cameras and videoing is one strategy that was taken up by the national government to build more trust, transparency, and safety of the police officer and citizens. But as this may not be sufficient to deal with every incident between the police and public, more alike should be made. Police should use other less physical approaches towards the citizens because violence tends to arise where there is a physical confrontation. Also, there should be a clear elaboration of what works such that police officers can know the most appropriate actions to undertake in any given situation. Overall, more research on all areas of policing need to be conducted to bridge this gap further.

There is indeed a room for improvement in the relationship between the police and the public like how police officers confront suspicious individuals or those found on the wrong side of the law. As the study reveals, 49% of officers say that their job makes them feel angry, and this is majorly contributed by feeling less connected to the citizens they serve (Morin, 2017). Also, there is a need to harmonize the relationship between black and white officers. The black officers hold contrasting views to those of white officers despite the fact they serve the same role. This lack of unity gives room for disrespect towards officers of different races. The violent confrontations between the blacks and the officers show that there is a need to focus more on building a positive relationship between the black community and the police officers. Also, there is a need for improvement in the policies. Different police units have got to come up with ways of restoring the confidence of the black community in the neutrality of police officers because most violence against the police is a result of the perceived bias against the blacks.

The findings that white officers are more likely to have a physical altercation with a suspect than a black officer, shock me. I always assumed that suspects whether white or black feared police officers equally regardless of their race. And as a result, suspects who would try to get physical did so without thinking about the run of the officer. I, therefore, fail to understand why suspects are more likely to engage in a physical altercation with the white police officers. This finding shows a worrying trend that points to deeper race issues that a lot of people just like me, fail to understand. Also, I tend to usually believe that the use-of-force guidelines are not as helpful because it would be difficult to follow directions in a situation that needs immediate action and that most officers do not follow them. These guidelines are only useful in situations that do not need the officer to make instant decisions.

It is understandable when white officers feel that the public does not comprehend the risks that come with their job. This can be explained by the fact they are more likely to face physical confrontation from black suspects than the black officers are. It is, therefore, true if it is concluded that white police officers are exposed to more risks of physical confrontation than the black officers are. For this reason, it is justified for a white police officer to say that they feel angrier or frustrated about their job. Anyone would be frustrated if they faced such challenges. It is also understandable when black officers feel safer because they experience less of the attacks. It can be concluded that a black police officer is likely to feel more satisfied with their job then a white officer and relevant measures should be undertaken to ensure that white officer feels safer in their work environment just as much as black officers. The fact that male and female officers report the same emotions show that race is the major issue. However, I believe that male officers are more confrontational than female officers, which is why they are more likely to get attacked, unlike female officers. The findings on race, gender, and ethnic differences in police culture only point out the complex nature of policing that the three factors play a significant role in the experiences that police officers face.

In conclusion, I firmly believe that all police officers will find this article from the PEW Research Centre extremely useful. Policing is primarily affected by the gender, race, and ethnicity of both the police officer and citizens who they serve. This article helps let a police officer know how to act in certain situations. Also, those involved in formulating policies for the police officers can better understand how to deal with the challenges that the police officers face in their daily endeavors. A police officer from a white race can collaborate better with a black officer because they are at less risk of experiencing a physical altercation. I believe that an officer is more likely to stay prepared and handle suspects from different races accordingly because they know what to expect. The PEW Research article is therefore relevant for the police officer of today as it provides numerous useful insights on their challenges, and the likely behavior of suspects so that they can better deal with situations.


Anderson, M. C., & Giles, H. (2005). Fairness and Effectiveness in Policing: The Evidence. Journal of Communication, 55(4), 872-874. doi:10.1111/j.1460-2466.2005.tb03028.x

Morin, R., Parker, K., Stepler, R., & Mercer, A. (2017). Behind the badge. Pew Research, 11.