Criminal Justice

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Area Criminologist on Community Policing

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By: Hilary Powell

December 5, 2014 — Recent cases of alleged use of excessive force by police officers across the country have sparked debate in the region about the best policing practices.

The most recent case involved a New York police officer who a grand jury decided not to indict after a man the officer put in a choke hold died.

The incident was caught on camera.

“These incidents have triggered so many emotions because they, involve the issues of race, it involves the issues of relations between the community and the police, it also involves the idea that we tend to be a nation that is at ease at arresting people,” says Monica Solinas-Saunders, an assistant professor of Public Affairs at Indiana University Northwest.

This week, Solinas-Saunders participated in an educational series at IUN, First Wednesdays, sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union. The forum explored privacy issues surrounding a growing call for police to wear body cameras to capture their interactions with citzens.

Saunders has a Ph.D in Sociology/Criminology and says she’s not surprised by days of recent protests and staged sit-ins across the nation.

“Although we may think this was an unusual reaction, I don’t think we as criminologists are surprised,” she says. “Trying to put all the pieces together is very difficult. People want to understand much better what is going on.”


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