In theory, police officers are public servants sworn to protect and serve the public. However, the “public servant” and “protect and serve” parts of policing seem to get lost in the de facto execution of their duties. Statistics in New Jersey and other US states with large urban populations point to a difference in policing along color lines.
Why the difference?
Although a difference in policing can be detected across racial lines, the jury is still out in terms of why. Systemic racism is a definite culprit for researchers who study this issue. Although explanations such as socio-economics exist, Blacks are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by a White police officer than White people.
The concept of “personality” has been introduced into the discussion as to why police violence is more of an issue with Black people. Personality is the beliefs and sentiments upon which a person’s actions are based. It answers questions of why people think and feel the way they do. Concerning policing, personality differences could mean that one person will get arrested and another will get a ticket for committing the same infraction. There continue to be incidents where police kill some people upon arrival at the scene before determining what is going on. The victims are often Black.
The police brutality personality
The think tanks are still trying to solve implicit biases inherent in policing protocols. Due to numerous incidents of police brutality, calls to re-imagine policing with decreased budgets remain just that: calls. While various methods of training to stem the tide of excessive force have occurred, some question whether classes are relevant. The comedian, Chris Rock, has suggested a method that could work. When recruiting new hires, he states: “The best way to keep bad apples out of your barrel is to avoid picking bad apples in the first place.”
There are no easy answers and the debate will continue. Unfortunately, people will continue to die at the hands of the police. People will continue to protest. Perhaps the proven success of personality psychology assessments (PPAs) will continue to sort the apples going in the police-recruit barrel. While the benefits of PPAs have been scientifically validated–including reducing police brutality–nepotism, favoritism, sexism, ageism and racism will continue to plague police departments across America. So, the hard work continues.