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Diversity in Policing and Psychology

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In order to work with diverse populations, police professionals must be aware of areas of concern that are specific to the populations they serve. Police professionals also must consider and adopt an appropriate style of interaction for each population. Those who do acquire the necessary skills specific to working with a particular population may find themselves more sensitive to the needs of the population, which may, as a result, improve community relationships. Forensic psychology professionals are instrumental in teaching these interactional skills to police professionals.

An examination of Boro Park, a small community in Brooklyn, New York, illustrates this point (Heilman, 2003). A small group of Hasidic Jews lives in this community. On Saturdays, the Hasidim do not work or drive their cars. Men are not allowed to be touched in any way by women who are not their wives, and all members eat only specially prepared foods. There are other religious laws that the Hasidim adhere to as well. If the police do not respect these values, there can be unrest and law enforcement difficulties. As a result, the New York Police Department (NYPD) has sanctioned a specific group, composed of members of this Jewish community, to handle emergencies in Boro Park. This special group responds to emergency calls and assists the NYPD in addressing certain investigations. Because of police professionals' understanding and working with this particular group, the relationship between law enforcement and the community is a good one, members of the community cooperate with police professionals, and law enforcement problems have been reduced.

Select a specific diverse population that is of interest to you.
Think about the challenges that police professionals could experience when communicating with this selected population.
Consider how forensic psychology professionals could assist police professionals with these communication challenges.
Think about the impact that forensic psychology professionals could have on the communication effectiveness of police professionals when interacting with diverse populations.

Describe the diverse population you selected for this assignment.
Analyze the challenges police professionals experience when communicating with your selected population, and explain how a forensic psychology professional would assist police professionals with these challenges.
Evaluate the potential impact of forensic psychology professionals on the effectiveness of police professional communication when interacting with diverse populations.

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Diversity, Psychology and Policing

According to Prosser (2007), "Change occurs whether you want it or not. It is the charge of a professional public safety agency to be flexible, to adapt, and to provide professional services to any and to all regardless of birthplace, language, or skin color." The change Prosser (2007) alludes to here is the ethnic make-up of a community and the larger society. Where once there are only 2 or 3 ethnicities with one specific majority, immigration due to a number of reasons (economic, political, conflict, etc.) has changed that, creating a more ethnically diverse America. What then does this mean? For Prosser (2007) who reports of the issues in relation to diversity and policing in near rural Storm Lake City, Iowa - it meant grappling with issues related to culture, language, practices and a host of other barriers. Storm Lake since the 70's have become the home of Southeast Asian Refugees due to the Vietnam conflict followed by a large wave of Hispanic economic migrants and in the 90's conflict refugees from Ethiopia, Somalia and recently, Sudan. Here, I would like to present a focus on the Hmong - an ethnic group from Southeast Asia whose displacement and persecution from their homebases in the 70's due to Marxist and Communist-sanctioned ethnic and religious cleansing (in North Vietnam, Laos and Thailand) led to the enactment of the US Refugee Act of 1975 paving the way for thousands to be resettled in the US. Today, the Hmong number around 260,000 plus and are spread across the US but mostly in California, Minnesota and Wisconsin. While Hmong-Americans are largely assimilated into the larger American culture, in the earlier days, and increasingly among new arrivals and those who hold their ethnic culture of the highest import in the way they live often find it difficult to relate with larger practices or to access available policing ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides information, assistance and advice in tackling the task (see above) on the topic of policing issues in diversity with the Hmong-Americans discussed as an example. Resources are listed for further exploration of the topic.

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Diversity and Policing (a Topic in Police Psychology)

The term diversity, as used in this course, is defined broadly to include not only race and ethnicity, but also religion, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, physical ability, age, and other characteristics. The purpose of diversity training in the work place is to raise awareness of such differences and to help people become "culturally sensitive" and "culturally competent." What this means is that they are able to communicate and interact appropriately with diverse populations. The importance of understanding minority cultures—cultures represented by the wide variety of characteristics noted above—is underscored by anti-discrimination laws as well as laws related to the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO).

Police professionals are particularly challenged within the communities and departments in which they work because of the diversity of the populations they interact with and serve. As a result, police professionals are provided with diversity training and EEO training to assist them in addressing these challenges. As police recruits, they are taught about cultural diversity through classes in the police academy, and police administration may bring in consultants to provide additional training classes. At times, police personnel are specifically trained to provide diversity programs as well. Police professionals are encouraged to be open and honest when being trained to work effectively with diverse populations. They also must be open to accepting feedback about their own diversity issues as well as the need to learn about law enforcement culture. There is a significant commitment that must be made to ensure this type of training exists, and top officials within the organization must support it.

Review the article, "The Relationship Between Multicultural Training for Police and Effective Law Enforcement." Think about the impact that forensic psychology professionals have on police professionals through the diversity training they provide.

Review the article, "Making Good Cops in the Twenty-First Century: Emerging Issues for the Effective Recruitment, Selection, and Training of Police in the United States and Abroad." Consider the types of diversity training that a forensic psychology professional could provide to administrative police professionals and the impact that training could have on policing.
Review the document, "Facts About the Americans With Disabilities Act," and consider the impact of forensic psychology professionals' provision of diversity training to police professionals.
Review the remaining Learning Resources from this week, focusing on the impact of diversity training by forensic psychology professionals to administrative police professionals. Think about the difference this training can make and consider its value.
Think about the diversity training provided by forensic psychology professionals. Consider the difference it makes to administrative police professionals and to the police department as a whole.

Think about the impact that forensic psychology professionals could have on the communication effectiveness of police professionals when interacting with diverse populations.

Evaluate the impact of diversity training by forensic psychology professionals—specifically, respond to the difference it can make and evaluate its value.
Analyze how the provision of diversity training impacts the police department as a whole. Be specific and provide examples.

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