This week has been, as far as weeks go, definitely more eventful than the last.
Throughout the week, I read and eventually finished up another book, The New World of Police Accountability by Samuel Walker, a professor of the University of Nebraska who specializes in policing. From this book, I gathered many important takeaways that will be useful knowledge for me when I begin interviewing. First and foremost, the “heart of the issue,” as Walker puts it, is officers being poorly trained about peaceful de-escalation and communication, and therefore unable to distinguish between situations that actually warrant the use of deadly force and situations that can be resolved in different ways. Through outside agencies dedicated to review and reform, open data to encourage transparency, and making substantial changes to the way most officers are trained, he explains that we can hope to increase accountability and correct the problem at hand. I found this reading very interesting, and have begun to brainstorm questions that I would like to ask the officers and other individuals I plan to interview in the near future.
I also completed some more research regarding the database I aim to create, and I have a general idea of the information that this database will include. While I have begun some very basic coding, until I interview Professor Philip M. Stinson, the former cop who created his own database, Dr. Aaron Shapiro, a professor who specializes in policing, and the actual police officers that I have reached out to, I cannot begin to input information, as I am not extremely sure about the specifics of what I should be inputting.
Lastly, on Friday, I drove up to San Francisco so that I could observe the situation of policing in some of the most “urban” and “unsafe” districts of the city: the Tenderloin and the Mission. While in the Mission, a known epicenter of black and Latinx culture, I managed to grab a few photos of some beautiful murals in Clarion and Balmy alley, one of which is pictured above. These murals illustrate exactly what I am researching: why so many police officers target people of color, and why little has been done about this yet. I also noticed an increased presence of police officers in these two districts (especially in the Tenderloin), likely because of the high rates of poverty and homelessness and therefore the high crime rates. From just driving around these two districts it became clear to me that most of these impoverished individuals were, in fact, people of color, who have likely been displaced as these districts become increasingly gentrified.
While this week was more noteworthy and productive than the last, I am very excited for next week, as I will be conducting my first interview of Dr. Aaron Shapiro. Hopefully after this interview, I will have a clearer idea of how the current political climate is affecting the issue of policing in general, as well as a better idea of the information that will go in my database. I will also be driving up to Oakland with my friend Rithvik, so that we can observe the policing situation in one of the the most charged cities regarding the issues of misconduct and brutality.