Citizens rely on the government, law enforcers, and legislation to protect them against anti-human rights activities. However, on multiple occasions, the people have felt unprotected or on the perceived wrong side of those individuals for matters they do not understand (Prendergast, 2021). Several cases have been reported on police brutality, incarceration, and killings that raise concerns about police’s responsibilities. People are suffering in the same hands they expect to receive protection. Relevant authorities have made bold steps by revolutionizing the sector through technology and community policing reforms. The reforms aim to ensure police officers remain responsible for their oath to human rights protection and enhance service delivery. Despite the struggles, the goal has not been met; several inhuman cases are reported in the U.S., showing reasons for extensive developments. The paper looks at advancements in technology and community policing concerning a common police brutality case.
The memories of Rodney King’s case in Los Angeles are still fresh in people’s minds despite having occurred 30 years back. The man was stopped by four Los Angeles Police department officers and was beaten brutally. He was struck severally without a clear reason or an opportunity to defend himself. The incident came to light from a witness’s recording, which later spread on social media platforms. Despite its spread, people did not react immediately; increased racial cases pushed them from the police. Incidences of assaults, killings, and convictions among people of color increased. The U.S. saw mass chaos from riots organized by blacks in support of interested whites (Prendergast, 2021). The riots resulted from the legal system’s failure on its promises to ensure they provide equal justice. The happenings led to the action of an oversight committee to regulatory reforms in the sector by improving technological activities and training on community policing.
The first action enhanced police accountability by initiating critical measures to regulate their activities. As the people were busy struggling to create a level ground for all, many thought that the police were working to reinforce their power over the citizens. Activists tabled demands or provisions to help regulate their activities and reduce policing. They thought that maybe police also required policing from human rights commissions and the public. Among the moves made to ensure it was a success; was a private prosecutor to preside over police brutality cases. Secondly, the activists pushed for defunding the police and empowering the public (Cameron, 2020). The idea is that reducing police arms will facilitate their interaction with the public. The ideas led to an intervention to improve policing through several proposed reforms in community policing.
The actions prompted the advancement of the community policing services with few improvements to enhance service delivery. The major goal was to improve the working relationship between the community and the police. The policy focused on improving police relations with blacks in Los Angeles by enhancing police accountability and improving the power within the public. The method had three major goals, namely; to expand police operations through an extensive view of criminalization objectives, to minimize public power by associating with the public in police drives and a fight for community members to have a common goal that can be easily realized in combined efforts (Brayne & Christin, 2020). The focus was mainly on blacks since they experienced the worst aspects of police brutality. Making the victims the biggest part of police activities was a major strategy in ensuring they met the target goals. Similar improvements have been witnessed in technology, often used in police activities.
Technological developments are seen in different justice system departments, from police activities to case determination. The sector has adopted predictive technologies to determine the possibility of seeing a similar offense in the future. Several scholars have criticized the algorithmic technologies who believe it may be a reason for a conviction for thought crimes. The concern arises from the extensive use of technology in policing departments to predict whether individuals will participate in a crime (Walsh & O’Connor, 2018). They also use the same technology to predict areas where crime might occur and those expected to feel its effect. The technology is similar to “risk assessment tools” used in courts to determine whether suspects will reappear in court when released. The questions associated with its application are whether they ensure fairness in the system.
The questions can only be answered by looking at the exact application and the implication witnessed in the places they are used. For example, the policing sector utilizes algorithms in predictive policing. The measures involve analyzing statistical information to obtain the predicted figures for criminal offenses (Archbold, 2021). The idea lies in the assumption that criminal activities depend on environmental factors rather than being distributed evenly. Policing applies the technology in investigations and during frequent patrols. During patrols, the gadgets are only used to locate the ‘hotspot areas,’ but a decision of being a criminal is upon the officers’ analysis. The action is similar in investigations where the technology is used to clean data leaving those with high criminal links but leaving the decision to the officers.
Social media is also important in policing today by providing a wide range of information from one point. The platform offers research information that helps combine, sort, and spread information on the subject matter. The police use the platform in direct engagement with the public through peace campaigns, enlightening them about criminal fears and advising on possible control measures (Walsh & O’Connor, 2018). The information is obtained by conducting online surveillance, obtaining the exact occurrence, and relating it to the scene through intelligence. Police also utilize the platform to catch up with individuals abusing speech and bragging about it on social media. The reforms raise questions about whether they have been successfully implemented or require more advancement.
Several activists have criticized the reforms who believe the main goal has not yet been achieved. The research presents information that people believe that the reforms were only written on paper but not implemented in real life. Many blacks are still serving jail terms for crimes they did not commit. Aspects of racial abuse are evident in all sectors of the American community; education, jobs, healthcare, justice, etc. (Cameron, 2020). Police are still killing blacks without any reason and going unpunished with cases pending in courts. There is a need to introduce further reforms in the sector that will be implemented fully. The people have to be assured that the police are neither their enemy nor a friend to the whites but a loyal servant to all citizens.
In conclusion, several reforms have been introduced in policing from actions observed earlier in society. The case of Rodney King was a turning point for the oversight group to initiate new measures in the sector. The reforms were introduced to change the initial mode of policing by introducing measures that incorporate citizens’ activities into their policy. The reforms in community policing reduced the power of the police and improved public involvement. Other changes in the sector are utilizing technology in policing; through surveillance, patrols, and tracing case occurrences. Aspects of technology like social media are also used in data collection and analysis. Despite the challenges associated with its application, the improvements have made it easier to access information, enlighten the public and enhance policing.
Archbold, C. A. (2021). Police accountability in the USA: Gaining traction or spinning wheels? Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 15(3), 1665-1683. https://doi.org/10.1093/police/paab033
Brayne, S., & Christin, A. (2020). Technologies of crime prediction: The reception of algorithms in policing and criminal courts. Social Problems, 68(3), 608-624. https://doi.org/10.1093/socpro/spaa004
Cameron, A. L. (2020). Book review: The limits of community policing: Civilian power and police accountability in Black and Brown Los Angeles. Race and Justice, 215336872093595. https://doi.org/10.1177/2153368720935959
Prendergast, C. (2021). ‘Drive and wave’: The response to LAPD police reforms after rampant. SSRN Electronic Journal. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3789061
Walsh, J. P., & O’Connor, C. (2018). Social media and policing: A review of recent research. Sociology Compass, 13(1), e12648. https://doi.org/10.1111/soc4.12648