U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Police on the Urban Frontier - A Guide to Community Understanding

NCJ Number
G Edwards
Date Published
100 pages
Trends impacting law enforcement in the United States, causes of the conflict between blacks and police, and recommendations for improving law enforcement in urban areas are discussed.
Major trends in the United States which have brought new needs and responsibilities in law enforcement are (1) the increase in urban crime, (2) the effects of urbanization, (3) the impact of population migration, (4) the U.S. Supreme Court's requirement of police compliance with the Bill of Rights, (5) the impact of the civil rights movement, and (6) the rising tide of race riots and violence. Police effectiveness in urban areas has been largely hampered by conflicts between blacks and police. Much of this conflict has been precipitated by police styles and methods in dealing with blacks, such as derogatory forms of address ('boy and nigger'), arrests without warrants 'for investigation,' the widespread use of 'stop and frisk,' the use of police dogs, the excessive use of police violence, police executions, and the failure of police to respond promptly and conduct thorough investigations for crimes involving black victims. Improvement in the effectiveness of policing in urban areas should involve a professionalization of policing style, which would include the use of firm courtesy, the cessation of harassing tactics, the disciplined use of force, faster police response in high-crime neighborhoods, effective race-riot control, and opening of channels of daily communication between police and citizens, and the organization of citizen support. Police agencies should actively recruit persons from ethnic minorities and help them qualify. Further, the professional standards, training, and pay scales of police should be increased. This would include seeking Federal assistance for college-level police training. Fifty-five footnotes are provided.