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Experiencing Inequality In Law Enforcement

Recorded on: Friday, November 7, 2014

Air Date: Monday, November 10, 2014

Experiencing Inequity in Law Enforcement

An orderly civil society requires a law enforcement focus on an effective and efficient balance between prevention and intervention. In healthy communities, everyone depends on the professional judgment of sworn officers to ensure safety. When public funds are scarce, it is especially important to make every police action count.

Panel speakers will discuss the effects on a community that experiences inequity in law enforcement. There is a downside for the whole community when some members experience disproportionate contact and more severe penalties for misconduct. When community members perceive that the long arm of the law constrains some lives more than others, the public can lose trust. When trust is low, enforcement mistakes can erode confidence.

Jim Stauffer will discuss how racism creeps into public policy and data collection. Eric Richardson and Juan Carlos Valle will offer details about incidents of racial profiling and bias in enforcement. The NAACP and LULAC have kept records that help them explain how the perception and experience of unfairness affects the feelings of safety and security in some neighborhoods. Their stories come from people who do not feel that it is productive to report bad experiences officially. Linda Hamilton will speak about the lack of accountability in agencies when public employees violate the policies and procedures intended to ensure equity.

Stauffer is a volunteer with the ACLU and a long-time political activist, working on application of civil liberties and rights at the local level. Richardson comes from a Eugene family notable for its social activism and leadership in development of culturally inclusive curriculum in Oregon. He has extended his family’s legacy and advanced the mission of NAACP.  A native of Mexico, Valle graduated from LCC and completed Advanced Studies in Public Administration at the UO. He has worked for many years in city and federal government offices and served on the board of El Centro Latinoamericano. Hamilton has been a government employee for 27 years. She served as vice president of BIG before becoming president in 2013.

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