Cross-Culture Awareness and Respect Brittney Kaplan University CJ246-01 August 31, 2010 There are many reasons as to why it is necessary for police officers to have diversity training. In this paper, we are going to discuss three of the reasons that I feel are some of the most important.
It is very important for police officers to have an understanding of different cultures, which is defined as “beliefs, values, patterns of thinking, behavior and everyday customs that have been passed on from generation to generation”, so that way they can be of more assistance when responding to calls of different cultures. There are still some cases in the United States of America today that are considered illegal here, but in other cultures, they are completely acceptable.
If an officer(s) are responding to a case of child abuse, for example, the best instance that I can use to describe how badly no knowledge of different cultures can affect the call’s, is the one that the text books points out: There is a young Vietnamese boy who had been absent from school for a few days with serious injuries. His father had rubbed heated coins on specific sections of his neck and back in hopes that it would cure him.
When the child’s condition seemed to have improved, the father had sent him back to school only for the reporting of the bruises on his neck, from the coins, to get Child Protective Services involved. Even though the father was extremely cooperative and had admitted to leaving the bruises from the coins, in not so well English, he was still arrested and incarcerated. While he was in jail, his son’s condition had got worse and he had died from his original illness. Once his father had heard of this, he then took his own life in jail.
This example goes to show that if there had been an officer that either knew the Vietnamese culture, at least to know some of how they practice medicine, or even if there was someone that had did the research on it, this child might not have never have been taking away from his father. The father knew how to take care of his son, the way that he had always practice it, and neither of them would be dead. Not only is understanding different cultures to prevent a situation like above from happening, it would also help gain the trust of those particular people.
It helps police officers to be able to relate to their calls and helps the callers be able to trust the police officers and not feel so afraid to call them. It may take some time on the police department’s behalf in order to gain that trust, however, once they do, it will only be beneficial. Another reason why it is necessary for police officers to have diverse training is because they do not speak every language that is out there.
They need to have some kind of interpreter on call for situations that arise where the responding officer does not speak the same language or the people they are responding to do not speak very good English. Not being able to understand the situation that one is responding to, could cause a total misunderstanding of the situation and lead to either nothing being done or something completely wrong being done. The best example I can give for this particular situation would be a witness to a murder is trying to report what they had seen and who they seen commit the murder.
If the responding officer(s) and the witness do not speak the same language, or the witness speaks very little English, they could end up arresting the wrong person and charging them with murder. Even though there would be other evidence involved other than just witness testimony, it still is not right for someone to be arrested and have to go thru with that whole process because of a language barrier.
Bibliography Shusta, Levine, Wong, Olson, & Harris, 2008, pp. 21 Shusta, Levine, Wong, Olson, & Harris, 2008, pp. 22