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LAPD and Cultural Awareness Courses to Police Officers Research Paper

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Updated: Dec 23rd, 2021


Different people across Los Angeles and the entire USA have often complained of police harassment citing the use of excess force while executing their action. From the case of Rodney King and other individual who faced police torture and inhuman treatment, are some acts of the LAPD police officers reflecting their disrespect to people’s culture and traditions. Culture defines the inherent behaviors of individuals acting either in groups or alone.

Since culture affects various facets of a person’s life, policing need to understand various concepts of ranging culture for the community they serve. In the last two decades, debates on whether to include cultural awareness took center stage in almost all conflict issues involving the police and the community. Thus, an insight into this matter may provide more understanding of policing in Los Angeles. Similar sentiments from other states in the US such as California lead to research in policing department leading to improved services. Generally, people view law enforcement officers as enemies or potential adversaries.

Part One: Introduction

Focusing on the problem

This research paper is critically important in addressing various issues faced by federal law agents and state police officers in enforcing conflicting laws. In particular, I find it interesting to present views of people arrested while going about their normal businesses but end up misconstrued by the police for breaking the law in bliss. The general assumption that even in a civilized society such as the one in the USA, enforcement of state and federal laws often conflicts with the view of most people who are predisposed to classical lifestyles unheeded by the same laws. Therefore, in this research I intend to learn more about various areas where lines of conflict can be drawn between unwarranted police actions in interrogating individuals and cross-cultural beliefs and actions lies.

What I want to know and why

The processes of socialization and civilization in the lives of average Americans have often presented a culture shock to civilians and administrative officers alike. Probably, the knowledge of traditional culture would serve as the basis of understanding certain behavior of individuals and the society. Hence, I thought of the proposal to conduct regular classes for police officers on various cultures of people resident in America.

In my opinion, this would resolve some of the problems associated with police interrogation on petty offenses considered by some people as normal. Indeed, it is interesting to note that police continue to ran into conflict with civilians they are hired to protect and defend against because some of the practices in the public domain create poor impressions, that are only provided by certain states’ by-laws and rules as minor offences but still attract strict and tough measures. In sum, these views present my intentions and motive in developing this research.

Part Two: Searching for Information

There are two types of sources that may be used for this research paper: the first includes primary sources, suchlike interviews of people attacked by police because of cultural ignorance and surveys demonstrating the percentage of people representing different cultures or ethnic minorities on the territory of the United States of America; the second type includes secondary sources, suchlike journal articles, books and book chapters, some information on the issue that can be fund on the web. The second type of sources formed the main base leading to development of the idea considering offering cultural awareness to state police officers.

Although interviews offered rapid first-hand information about the challenges faced by the police in dealing with organized gangs, it did not lead to more information as it tend to hide vital information for security reasons. However, I found interesting information in books and journals that raised more questions.

It could have been interesting to analyze the information presented in the films on the police and interrelations between representatives of police departments in different states and representatives of local ethnic minorities. In this respect, some films depict the hands-off policy performed by police when local gangs practise mob law towards cultural minorities, whereas other films contain stories about the discrimination or special cruelty of police officers towards people of other cultures. As the use of the films should include several films representing different concepts and attitudes, I found it difficult to choose the most appropriate ones which resulted in use of secondary sources, suchlike books, book chapters, and journal articles.

Part Three: What I Learned

Summary of the sources used

Bayley in Police for the Future suggested harmony that should be of paramount importance between the police officers and the community they are supposed to protect and whose rights they should defend. During the late 1960s, isolating the police from the community for training prevailed in Los Angeles as it sought to deal with rampant cases of civil unrest common at the time. The police depended on orders from their commanders to deal with a group in cases, such as tackling civil unrest. This often shows crude communication and action skills detrimental to the community.

Ward, Carter and Perrin also present the concept of separating the police and the community. The process of alienating police from the community to train elsewhere in total institution creates a gap between professionalism (acting in accordance with the police code) and community interests expressed in different ways. This indicates a contemporary ineffective police department whose actions in enforcing law and maintaining order could amount to futility. Cultural awareness should be of paramount importance for police officers as well as for representatives of other professions dealing with people from other cultures, providing them with human rights secured and health care treatment guaranteed to all members of the society.

In this respect, the predominantly diverse society in LA shows Constant Corporation with the police for the sake creating the desired harmony. There are various instances where police officers from LAPD have often acted unfairly to the society. While it is understandable that the professional police person is an expert, practicing ideals in a rational environment, the unwarranted actions including the use of force, seizers, and search in arrest procedures indicate some concepts lacking in the police law enforcement. All these reasons compound for cultural awareness courses for Los Angeles police. This would in turn address the concepts of community policing by involving professional police officers in solving the wide range of problems encountered by both fronts.

Answering the main question

Today, the ability of police to solve community problems depends on intelligent investigations and largely on how the investigation and judgment draws analysis from findings involving diverse cultured suspects. Indeed, LAPD should be aggressive in ensuring that their police officers take some cultural awareness courses. In order to improve the officers understanding of people involvement in crime, cultural behaviors prompting people from certain backgrounds is essential in the police officers professionalism.

When presented as a compulsory course, cultural awareness would enable the police is to provide community service in a highly dignified way. However, professional the community service of the police may be, it can only command confidence and respect of the society if it grants respect to people’s values, virtues and norms. In the 21st century, the nature of service provision significantly depends on the very nature of the society that it serves.

As Huntington noted, I admit that cultural awareness act as one of the means of meeting the professional strengths of policing in different tasks. In considering that community service forms the core of police professionalism achieved during training and experience, the police should understand various aspects of cross-cultural values of the communities that it serves, Los Angeles is not an exception (Glenn 39). Therefore, this leaves no doubt to providing cultural awareness to the police officers in LAPD. In particular, those who graduated recently and those undergoing training need the first priority in cultural awareness.

Solution to the problem

LAPD should provide cultural awareness courses to their police officers. In this regard, the cultural awareness content should try to integrate cultural perspectives of different races in the police training and recruitment (Ward, Carter and Perrin 26). LAPD may need to reconsider renewed integration of certain principles and actions that exempt people from the law depending on frequency of need.

Similarly, exception of certain classes of people from certain state by-laws on various occasions could possibly enhance the professionalism of policing. In such instances, the community in itself has already provided for the omission of the targeted category of people from effects of service from time to time because of social stratification. From this illustration, it immediately follows that effective law enforcement, learned or acquired, needs to take into consideration the interests and growing diverse cultures served by LA police( Hess and Bennett 563).

Therefore, cultural awareness to LAPD police would help resolve the police officers understanding of this community’s culture that inherently reflects on effectiveness of their service delivery. Cultural awareness amongst LAPD police officers is critically important in understanding the motives and priorities of the LA community (Hines and Malley-Morrison 212). In order to minimize incidences of inaccurate victimization of people cultural awareness is necessary in enhancing the intelligence of the police officers. Intelligent officer would then be keen on conducting objective investigations, organized arrests and fair retributions.

I also realized that community policing is further important way of bridging the communication gap between the state police and the civilian. Such efforts may play significant roles in all the 3P‘s of policing. First, in prevention of criminal activities, the police would be in constant liaison with the community to obtain first information in a timely manner. Again, this would help in improving the efficiency of police monitoring system in the region for the benefit of the community 24 hours throughout the week (Palmiotto 266).

I also learn the significance of putting in place a law enforcement framework that would recognize human rights to free speech and individual orientations. For example, the use of certain words found to offend people from different historical backgrounds should be discouraged among the LAPD.

The possibility of creating a police force that administers the roles of protection and cooperation with the civilians depends on intercultural integration achieved through cultural learning. This way, cultural learning is necessary in the formation of a police force that would observe care in arresting criminal for discrimination related offences. In addition, cultural learning among the police officers would help harmonize the clashes occurring in the different communities in site of the police.

When we have the police and the society working together, then the rate of crime is bound to decline as people obliterate other offences in highly patrolled areas. The concept of community policing demands that the community and police officers work together in identifying and solving common problems. This is probably the ideal and practical ways of having LAPD understand different members of the society; it forms the basis of mutual relationship between the community and the state police embedded in different cultures. After some time, these exchanges create a highly effective and dynamic approach to solving the day-to-day problems faced by both the society and the police.

For example, the Christopher commission recommended various philosophies toward facilitation of community policing in LA. Police brutality to suspect criminals when approached through cultural awareness concepts recommend 3Ps model as simplified way of law enforcement and policing. These are, partnership, prevention and problem solving. partnership of the police department with the community, problem-solving approach used by the police that involve input of the community and crime prevention mechanism proposed act as bases for effective community policing in LA (Glenn 104).

Importance of the solution for society

Exploring the freedom of speech in the US yields the conclusion that cultural learning among the LAPD police would facilitate formation of suitable policies capable of granting equity to every member of the society. This would improve the common relations between the police and the community while giving the state opportunity to obtain testable information for formulating new policies. The cultural awareness must therefore include exchange programs with various community centers in Los Angeles and other states.

The manner in which the police serve the community in all their stipulated roles matters in every aspect. Communication breakdown may cause ambiguity in community policing if the invisible barrier between the police and the citizenry remains. Hence, cultural awareness would definitely help in breaking the silence characterizing police-civilian relations. In therefore emerges that communication is critical in facilitating effective service delivery of the police.

As a result, cultural awareness is necessary in informing the police of the perception of the community it serves. Ultimately, this might change the opinion of the society to pave for easier service and may cause a shift in the views of the police so that they do not use excessive force in enforcing laws (Portz and Kuppe 5). The research raised a great number of new questions on the punishment of police officers for abuse of power. Why people do not want to call police when they have some problems? The answer on this question s simple: Because they do not want to be treated as representatives of ethnic minority who are always blamed in crimes they did not commit.

Part Four: Self-Reflection/Self-Evaluation

The research appeared to be a very interesting and thought provoking process. I have learned the ways that I may use different word combinations referred to as key words in order to find different types of information on the web and in the library databases. If I had the information I have now in the very beginning of my research, I would refer to movies and interesting stories on the web told by victims of biased attitude of police officers.

I believe that it is necessary to approach the legal side of this issue in order to be aware of rules and regulations existing in the society that may facilitate defending one’s rights. It is necessary to revise the silent code common with LAPD to instill fear in suspected criminals. Since these codes has often amounted to mental torture of innocent people held as culprits when the actual criminal actually goes scot-free. In my opinion, I humbly recommend for revision of the silent code because it also acts as a barrier to effective LAPD service delivery in an inherently diverse society.

Since LAPD began the process of including cultural awareness to its police officers, intensify the process of cultural sensitivity among the police would improve the efficiency of their service. Chief Charlie Beck should reinforce reform measure aimed at improving transparency and changing the public perception of police officers. Cultural awareness would also improve the efficiency of police by creating new ideas that are community friendly.

In addition, community activities involving peace initiative leads to crime prevention and heightened security measures that would improve the unity of the police and the community. However, it is necessary to consider the concept of all people that should be tolerant towards representatives of all cultures regardless the cultural diversity. Police officers are people with weapons; they are supposed to protect the innocent civilians, whereas we should now talk about the measures to be taken in order to prevent discrimination and abuse of power.


Los Angeles is a cosmopolitan city with a mix of people from various background and cultures. Residents include a large proportion of Hispanic people, Asians and Americans of African descendents. In general, the US demographic structure and population cohorts represent the wide diversity. For example, 2000 census indicated that the majority are whites who constituted more than half of the population.

African Americans and Hispanics also made a significant proportion of this statistics. Due to rapid development of LA, the states’ community is continually expanding hence embracing diverse cultures ranging from Hispanic origins to non-Hispanic. There is need to create cultural awareness amongst the police in LA. Since, if people from this heterogeneous population set form the target of policing service of LAPD, then it becomes clear in their functions that their training should include cultural awareness of representatives from all the major communities.

I noticed that the police officers operate in a highly diversified cultural society increases in complexity and effectiveness depending on the degree of staff professionalism in the police department. The understanding of cultural issues drawn from the various aspects of culture should provide a clear understanding of the subjects in the activities of LAPD officers. Therefore, recruitment of police officers should consider persons exposed to prior knowledge of cultural diversity such as college graduates. This would lead to LAPD deploying officers who have better understanding of individuals and groups in the society.

Works Cited

Bayley, David H. Police for the Future. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996. Print.

Feltes, Thomas, and Dolling Dieter, eds. Community Policing: Comparative Aspects Of Community Oriented Police Work. Germany: Felix, 1993. Print.

Glenn, Russell. Training the 21st Century Police Officer: Redefining Police Professionalism for the Los Angeles Police Department. Pittsburg: Rand Corporation, 2009. Print.

Hess, Karen and Bennett Wayne. Criminal Investigation. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007. Print.

Hines, Denise and Malley-Morrison Kathleen. Family Violence In A Acultural Perspective: Defining, Understanding, And Combating Abuse. London: Sage Publications, 2004. Print.

Palmiotto, Michael. Community Policing: A Policing Strategy for the 21st Century. Meryland: Aspen Publishers Inc., 2000. Print.

Portz, Ritchard and Kuppe Rene. Law & Anthropology. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994. Print.

Ward, David Andrew, Timothy J. Carter, and Robin D. Perrin. Social Deviance: Being, Behaving and Branding. New York: Allyn and Bacon, 1994. Print.

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