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NCJ Number: 52132 Find in a Library
Title: LITTLE CLOSER TO PERFECTION
Journal: ENGAGE/SOCIAL ACTION  Dated:(NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 1978)  Pages:25-28
Author(s): L CUNNINGHAM
Corporate Author: United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency:
Jacksonville, FL 32216
Sale Source: St John's Bluff Road South
P.O. Box 17074
Jacksonville, FL 32216
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: EFFORTS BY AN AD HOC GROUP ON POLICE COMMUNITY RELATIONS TO IMPROVE THE SITUATION IN MEMPHIS, TENN., ARE BRIEFLY DESCRIBED. THE GROUP WAS AN OUTGROWTH OF THE CITIZEN ACTION COMMITTEE OF CHURCH WOMEN UNITED.
Abstract: THE EFFORT BEGAN IN AUGUST, 1977, IMMEDIATELY AFTER A POLICE STRIKE UNDERMINED COMMUNITY CONFIDENCE, AND AFTER THE TENNESSEE ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO THE U.S. COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUED A REPORT STRONGLY CRITICAL OF THE POLICE. THE MEMPHIS POPULATION IS 40 PERCENT BLACK, YET THE POLICE FORCE HAS 1,044 COMMISSIONED OFFICERS OF WHOM ONLY 193 ARE BLACK. ALMOST 90 PERCENT OF THE 1,126 CHARGES OF POLICE MISCONDUCT INVESTIGATED DURING THE PRECEDING 4 YEARS WERE DISMISSED. DURING THE FEW MONTHS IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE FORMATION OF THE AD HOC GROUP, FIVE PERSONS WERE SHOT BY THE POLICE. INITIAL INVESTIGATION FOUND THE FOLLOWING: (1) EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE BY THE POLICE, (2) LACK OF TRAINING IN THE AREA OF HUMAN RELATIONS, (3) CONFLICT WITHIN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT AND (4) LACK OF SUPPORT FROM THE WHITE COMMUNITY. THE REPORT ALSO FOUND THAT INCIDENTS OF POLICE BRUTALITY WERE HAPPENING IN THE WHITE COMMUNITY BUT WITHOUT THE PUBLICITY ATTENDANT TO THOSE IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY. THE GROUP'S WORK CULMINATED IN A DAY-LONG WORKSHOP INVOLVING BOTH POLICE AND REPRESENTATIVES FROM EVERY MAJOR COMMUNITY GROUP IN MEMPHIS. THE PURPOSE OF THE WORKSHOP WAS TO IDENTIFY STEPS THE MEMPHIS COMMUNITY COULD TAKE TO REDUCE FEARS AMONG THE POLICE PERSONNEL AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS. IT COVERED LEGAL DEFINITIONS OF THE USE OF FORCE BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES, PERCEPTIONS OF THE USE OF FORCE AMONG BOTH BLACKS AND WHITES, PROBLEMS FACED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL, AND DOMESTIC CRISIS INTERVENTION. THE RECOMMENDATION WERE GIVEN TO ALL PARTIES ATTENDING, BUT ARE NOT REPRINTED HERE. AN APPENDED ARTICLE DESCRIBES THE WORK OF ANOTHER CHURCH GROUP, THE NATIONAL INTERRELIGIOUS TASK FORCE ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE. (GLR)
Index Term(s): Citizen associations; Police community relations; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Tennessee; US Commission on Civil Rights
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=52132

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