Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chidike Okeem — Jay-Z’s Ideas on Policing and Criminal Justice Reform Matter

From Change The

Contrary to popular opinion, Jay-Z’s former criminality and current entrepreneurial and musical success make him uniquely equipped to contribute to police policy. If police departments in major American cities are truly behind the idea of community policing, then the Brooklyn rapper is precisely who should be sitting down with police officers and collaborating on ways to ensure that officers are equipped with the cultural competency required to effectively police communities of color. A former crack dealer turned multi-millionaire and highly accomplished recording artist is the perfect kind of person to sit down with and devise policing strategies that do not entail engaging in instantaneous gunplay when interacting with young black American citizens.

Community policing is not just about addressing the issues that plague a given urban area. It encompasses having an intricate and accurate knowledge of the people in the area being policed. Without police officers sincerely dedicating themselves to cultural competency, community policing will always be inefficacious. Sitting down with artists like Jay-Z in order to better understand urban culture should be a necessary component of police training, inasmuch as Jay-Z's music is massively influential in many of the urban centers where both crime and police brutality are rife. Perhaps the reason why Jay-Z sitting down with leading law enforcement figures and helping to devise policing strategies is scoffed at is because the serious subject of cultural competency is injudiciously treated as a joke within many police forces. Cultural competency will inevitably result in more respect for the humanity of people being policed and reduce instances of police brutality.

Read complete article here