The problem of racial bias within the police department has been an issue of concern both for the general public and policymakers. One of the recent and notorious deaths of an African American citizen George Floyd that was perpetrated by officer Derek Chauvin has reinvigorated public debates regarding racism and brutality within the police. Black Lives Matter protests have begun pressuring politicians and police departments to engage in reform in law enforcement tactics, defund departments, or even abolish them. Corruption and misconduct represent another police problem that takes forms of petty bribery and criminal infiltration or political corruption. Police officials may engage in bureaucratic or administrative corruption for private gain, which facilitates distrust in the efforts of law enforcement. Therefore, the problems of racism, police misconduct, and bureaucracy within law enforcement are chaotic in detail and may not be solved until policymakers implement effective and consistent efforts aimed at establishing an environment of equality and fair treatment.
Police officers tend to identify themselves as warriors who are supposed to serve the community; however, there is a need to recognize the persistent problem of racial bias that limits the capacity of officers to deliver justice in their communities. The first recommendation to the Mayor of Boston associated with managing racism within police departments is to establish a racial diversity secretariat body that would report directly to the Mayor regarding critical problems, such as the issues of racism, the progress of implementation of previous recommendations on racial profiling, the impact and support of government policy development activities to make sure that racial diversity and equity are promoted and respected in all government initiatives, as well as the outcomes of the dialogue between those concerned about racism in the police department and police officers. The second recommendation is concerned with the need for all organizations and institutions dealing with establishing public safety, security, and protection to take appropriate steps to monitor and prevent racial bias and profiling. This can be achieved with the help of modifying their policies, practices, and training.
It is important that the Mayor initiates an educational program targeting police departments in order to train police officers on how to recognize racial bias at their departments and implement measures for their mitigation. The training programs should adopt a zero-tolerance policy associated with racial profiling and communicate it clearly to all officers. The need for training initiatives on racism and racial profiling in law enforcement is a repeatedly emerging problem. While some organizations may provide such training, there still room for improvement and strengthening of educational efforts. However, it is notable that current training programs can be “extremely effective in the short-term; however, the issue is that it does not have lasting effects” (Mahbubani, 2020, para. 10). In addition, as suggested by Kaste (2020), implicit bias training has the potential of changing officers’ minds but not necessarily their behaviors, which points to the complexity of training and its impact on police officers. Therefore, training should be long-term and consistent, based on the issues that emerge on a continuing basis. This is necessary for ensuring that individuals in positions of power accept and acknowledge the existence of racial profiling and racial bias and demonstrate the willingness to undertake action to eliminate it. The role of the Mayor, in this case, is to oversee the training and gather data on its implementation at Boston police departments to track progress and identify issues of concern that arise during training.
The issue of corruption and misconduct within police departments goes hand-in-hand with addressing the problem of racial bias due to the need to establish an environment of transparency and consistent reporting of significant issues. Efforts aimed at curbing police misconduct and corruption have been implemented in multiple cities in the United States, with some being more successful than others. Therefore, there is no single strategy that would be effective in eliminating the issues of corruption and misconduct in law enforcement, which calls for a systematic approach on the part of the Mayor of Boston. It is recommended for the Mayor of Boston look at the issue of corruption and other forms of inappropriate behavior from the perspective of political will, which entails a long-term approach toward managing the issue. While short-term solutions are sometimes appropriate for certain forms of police misconduct, a successful strategy requires an ongoing strategy of vigilance and socialization. The strong political will exhibited by the Mayor is expected to develop a strong sense of understanding of police reforms within the political economy context. The Mayor is expected to gain support from citizens, which may be challenging in a deeply polarized society.
The recommendations intended for the Mayor are associated with implementing an anti-corruption strategy that relies on the logic of controlling corruption that perceives misconduct as being prompted by both opportunities and available incentives to be corrupt. For example, the successful example of Singapore has been linked to the attempts to eliminate corruption as designed to decrease and completely eliminate any conditions or incentives that enable the opportunities for individuals to exhibit corruptive behaviors. The Mayor of Boston is expected to analyze the salaries of police officers at different levels of leadership as well as the existence of unfavorable working conditions of local officers that could enable them to engage in bribery and misconduct. In addition, low salaries and poor work conditions at Boston police departments may only attract unsuitably qualified candidates to join law enforcement. Besides, low payments can allow criminals to buy of police divisions or individual officers within the force.
Before raising salaries in order to motivate law enforcement officers to not engage in acts of bribery, the Mayor should consider whether such an approach aligns with consistent economic growth. While increasing the salaries of police officers has the potential of negating the corruption at petty levels among junior officials, it may not always address large instances corruption among senior police officers. In addition, solely raising wages is insufficient in solving the issue of corruption within Boston police if the government does not have the political will to do so, as suggested in the previous recommendation concerning the political will.
To conclude, the consistency of actions aimed at reducing or eliminating racial bias, corruption, and the associated misconduct is the key recommendation for the Mayor of Boston. It is essential that city leadership is directly involved with police departments and oversees the training as well as other efforts aimed at reducing the identified issues. The collaboration of the Mayor and his citizens as well as leading the efforts of the community law enforcement is expected to respond to the needs of the general public. Through political will, the Mayor can enable an environment of transparency and leadership intended to better the lives of the community.
Kaste, M. (2020). NYPD study: Implicit bias training changes minds, not necessarily behavior. NPR. Web.
Mahbubani, R. (2020). Officers already get training to deal with biases they may not know they have, but there’s no evidence it actually works. Insider. Web.