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Evolving Strategy of Police: A Minority View

NCJ Number
Date Published
15 pages

The recent interpretation of Kelling and Moore on the history of policing in America fails to take into account how slavery, segregation, discrimination, and racism have affected the development of police departments.


The strategies of police in dealing with minorities have been different from those in dealing with others. The changes in police strategies in minority communities have been problematic and, therefore, the beneficial consequences of those changes for minorities have been less noticeable. During the political era, blacks were completely powerless, due to the legal order sustaining slavery, segregation, and discrimination, leaving them unable to exert the influence necessary to affect police strategy. In the reform era, police strategy was determined largely on the basis of law, which left blacks almost completely unprotected. Finally, the community era requires an empowered, cohesive community to be able to deal with a sensitive, responsive police agency; neither precondition prevails in many contemporary minority neighborhoods. This interpretation of the shifts in policing from a political to a reform to a community era provides useful insights, however, the applicability of this interpretation is confined largely to the white majority communities of the nation. 49 notes.

Date Published: January 1, 1990