California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 36

aggravating circumstances attending the case, requiring both parties to examine the legal and human components of sentencing. In explaining the value of the program, Anne Redding, Department Chair of the Santa Barbara City College Justice Studies Program, explained how this inter- group setting brings together officers and civilian students “in a way that they can begin to understand each other in a context which they have probably not been previously able to talk with each other about or understand” (personal communication, April 17, 2017). Evaristo Arreola, a student participant in the course, discussed the negativity portrayed in the media surround- ing police and civilian interactions, and described how there always seems to be some miscommunication. Arreola believes “for this to ever resolve, for there to be a solution, we need two people (police and civilian) talking to each other, and I feel like this (course) is really helpful. It helped me be more comfortable around cops and made me realize they are people just like me.” When asked what he hoped to be the takeaway for the officers in the classroom, he said “to be more empathetic to a young person who is nervous for maybe their first contact with the police. We all know we have impartial biases about certain things, so for them (police) talking to people and discussing certain taboo sub- jects, they can learn from that and may be better prepared to handle certain situations” (personal communication, April 17th, 2017). Choi and Giles (2012) suggest that communicative accommodation by law enforcement has a dramatic im- pact on how the community evaluates its police officers, even more so than other predictors such as age gender, and ethnicity. Officer nonaccomodativeness could induce a perceived negative experience, even more so than whether a citation was issued during a police civilian contact. Inter- group dialogue reinforces communicative accommodation by reducing implicit prejudice (Vezzali & Giovanni, 2011). Intergroup dialogue puts us on a path to implement many of the critical dimensions of Procedural Justice. Humanizing police officers and increasing public trust leads to increased cooperation between police and the public they serve. Our communities, which include civilians and the officers who protect them, should consider courageous conversation, in a mediated intergroup setting that is deemed “safe” for both parties, as a vessel to deliver procedural justice.   ■ REFERENCES Choi, C. W., & Giles, H. (2012). Intergroup messages in policing the community. In H. Giles (Ed.), The handbook of intergroup communication (pp. 264-277). New York, NY: Routledge. Pettigrew, T. F., & Tropp, L. R. (2006). A meta-analytic test of intergroup contact theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, 751-783. doi: 10.1037/0022- 3514.82.3.300 Giles, H., & Harwood, J. (in press). Giles, H., & Harwood, J. (Eds.). (in press). The Oxford research encyclopedia of intergroup communication. New York, NY: Oxford University Press Saad, Carmel (2016). Implicit bias: Do hidden attitudes predict behavior. The Westmont College Magazine, 36, 2-15. Giles, H. & Maas, A. (2016). Advances in intergroup communication. New York, NY: Peter Lang. Reiman, J. (1985). The social and the police use of deadly force. In F. A. Ellison & M. Feldberg (Eds.), Moral issues in police work (pp. 237-249) Savage, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Lowe, M. (2017). Santa Barbara bends toward the beloved community: Two congregations gather for a meeting of the minds. Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved from http://www.independent.com/news/2017/mar/26/ santa-barbara-bends-toward-beloved-community/ 36 California Police Chief | www.californiapolicechiefs.org Vezzali, L., & Giovanni, D. (2011). Intergroup contact and reduction of explicit and implicit prejudice towards immigrants. Quality and Quantity, 45, 213-222. doi: 10.1007/s11135-010-9366-0 Vollmer, August (1969). The police and modern society. New York, NY: McGrath.