Change the educational requirements for becoming a Chicago Police Officer. Potential candidates must be required to take specific college courses in the current required 60 semester-hours of college credit.
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Social psychologist Joshua Correll and Anonthy Greenwald (2003) conducted a study asking participants to press a button to fire a shot or to not fire a shot at male participants either holding a gun or harmless object. The findings were disturbing and illuminated a serious racial and prejudice problem. Participants fired shots more often at Black targets who were holding harmless objects (as cited it Myers, 2010). Furthermore, Black males are more likely to be seen as a suspect and weapon carriers which influences discrimination and automatic prejudices that “can have life or death consequences” (Myers, 2010, p. 314).
It is socially constructed thought patterns and studies such as the latter that help explain why America witnessed the tragic death of Walter Scott (a Black male) who was shot eight times by North Charleston police officer, Michael Slager. Understand that the educational requirements for North Charleston where Michael Slager worked, only requires candidates to hold either a high school diploma or GED (See http://www.northcharleston.org/Residents/Jobs-and-Human-Resources/Police-Officer-Application.aspx ). Kincheloe and Steinberg (1998) stated that “those of us who claim the mantle of critical multiculturalism are concerned with the ways power has operated historically and contemporaneously to legitimate social/educational categories and hierarchical division” (p. 3). Mayor Emanuel I say to you that a high school diploma nor 60 college credit hours is nearly not enough education to prepare police officers (psychologically) to enforce the law. An individual who decides to take 60 credit hours of graphic design should not be eligible to become a police officer. I urge you and your delegates to think about this.
There must be specific courses that challenge future candidates to think CRITICALLY because the world is watching America's police behavior against people of color. Courses such as Critical Race Theory and Critical Multiculturalism ought to be mandatory courses for eligibility. The educational requirements to become a police officer must be re-examined and reconstructed in America to undue automatic prejudices and to edify those who are currently serving in the law enforcement field.
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