Bridging the Cultural Gap Between Police and Minorities




Martinez, Rebekah

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



The lack of regular cultural diversity training in law enforcement has played a role in the state of affairs the world is witnessing today in regard to public disdain for law enforcement. In a world where the public, especially minority communities, are openly displaying the lack of trust for law enforcement, through acts of protests and violence, law enforcement must first recognize the need to change and keep pace with the changes occurring in the world, and then must develop regular training with a relational approach to bridge the gap that has developed. In 2015, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing was created in response to the apparent unrest between the police and communities (COPS, 2015). The task force developed six pillars with action items that police departments should focus on moving forward. The number one pillar recommended is building trust and legitimacy, with pillar five discussing training and education, specifically mentioning implicit bias and cultural response. A different approach to diversity training is clearly needed. The approach needs to be one in which officers are taught about different cultures within their community, but also one in which officers have to actually successfully communicate with citizens and establish rapport. The strategic social interaction model offers a good example of the type of training law enforcement should move towards, offering training which teaches officers how to interact with different cultures.


Discrimination in law enforcement, Multiculturalism, Police Training