While the connections between racism, police overreach and brutality, and police reform have been at the forefront of the news these past several weeks, the systemic causes behind these issues have been prevalent for decades.
It’s important to understand how the police force came to be in order to understand where its potential faults lie. Through examination and discussion, alternative methods can be explored and introduced.
It was with this goal in mind, that IHS created a discussion colloquium (DC) based on the History of Policing and Alternative Models. Through conversations and an open, academic forum, students explore the history of policing and criticisms of contemporary policing models, while looking forward at possible reforms.
I found the topic to be extremely fascinating and valuable. Everyone could stand to be more educated about the people and systems that police them, so I believe everyone could benefit from this course.-Recent Undergraduate Colloquium Participant
This particular DC draws heavily from journalist Radley Balko’s, Rise of the Warrior Cop, but pulls from several other authors on a myriad of topics related to policing in America, including the Black Lives Matter movement and protests in Ferguson.
Beginning with addressing the history of policing, from its Roman roots to its current form, the first session of cultivated readings addresses how the police force in America has evolved over the years.
From there, the readings delve into the ethics of policing, the legal definition and justification of policing by consent, and explores studies on different policing models. Police targeting of specific communities is also addressed, and how the efforts to centralize policing has led to a disconnect between the needs of citizens and law enforcement.
Lastly, participants will walk away from the event’s conversation with a better understanding of modern policing’s complexities and possible remedies to core issues of targeting communities, race, brutality and militarization, and more.
Conversations on police reform and its ties to racial justice help to foster toleration, understanding, and human dignity. For additional resources and related topics, we recommend: