Recent studies have shown that, for the first time in 27 years, less than half of all Americans have a "great deal" or "a lot of confidence" in our police forces, which is the lowest it has been since such measures began to be recorded. The gap in confidence between white and black respondents is also evident from responses across the USA. This is likely a response to several shocking incidents of police brutality and misconduct that have come to light prompting public demands to combat bias, discrimination, and excessive force carried out by the police. Acknowledgement of the role overt and implicit biases play in law enforcement and the resulting friction between them and communities of color must be examined to move forward. Racial and ethnic minorities accounted for about a quarter of the police force and women only accounted for 1 in 8 officers and most black officers believe that white officers are treated better according to Pew Research. While it is encouraging that many police forces have made concerted efforts to address bias and excessive force, these numbers show that a larger conversation about discrimination inside and from our police forces is required to truly have a just legal system.
More than 3 people have died a day (mostly people of color) at the hands of law enforcement since April which has prompted criticism that our police too frequently use excessive force and or fail to de-escalate situations. On average, Americans believe that 25% of officers regularly use excessive force and most believe that the process of qualified immunity which prevents officers from being prosecuted for such acts should be abolished. The perception that excessive force is regularly used is pronounced among those with mental health issues as people who are untreated are 16 times more likely to be killed by the police than other people. Undocumented communities who can be crucial witnesses to crime are also increasingly skeptical of cooperating because of the increased role local police play in immigration enforcement. The chilled report between the police and the communities they serve has created a challenge to the essential duties of officers that must be met. Although isolated instances of accountability and a new presidential administration that supports legal reform are good, we need a more ambitious dialogue on how to reform our police.
This timely symposium provides an invaluable opportunity for police officers, people working in the criminal justice system and other key stakeholders to reflect on progress made, identify challenges and consider next steps in addressing police reform in America. Cross-sector exchange will help facilitate better partnerships between civil society, the private sector and government actors. It will allow delegates to consider solutions to identified barriers and challenges creating a just police system. Participants will be able to transfer key learnings and best practices to their own communities whether at the local, state or national level.
Consider Strategies to Improve Diversity of the Police Force
Examine Methods of Building Support from Underprivileged Communities
Review Alternatives to Qualified Immunity and Other Responses to Police Misconduct
Debate How to Build Trauma Informed Practices and Protect People with Mental Health Issues
Address Bias and Discrimination Inside and Outside the Police Force
Discuss How to Improve Safety and Cooperation Among Undocumented Communities
Assess Methods of De-escalation and Responding to Volatile Situations
Explore Opportunities to Collaborate with Other Stakeholders and Agencies as an Alternative to Policing Societal Problems
|9:30||Chair's Welcome and Introduction|
Speaker Presentations and Q&A
|12:30||Open Floor Discussion and Debate|
|13:00||Chair's Summary and Closing Comments|
|13:10||Close **All Times as Presented are in the Pacific Time Zone**
Highway Patrol Officers
Offices of Police Complaints
Civilian Police Oversight Agencies
Private Security Officers
Civil Rights Groups
City Council Members
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