Redefining law enforcement

The importance of dialogue is touching the hearts of future police officers as the situation in Ferguson, MO, sheds light on the way the public views the police.

At Southern Illinois University, criminal justice is one of the most popular departments on campus.

Department Head Joe Schafer says his students all signed up for criminal justice for the same reasons.

“They want to make communities safe and secure and better places to live,” said Dr. Joe Schafer. “They want to make a positive difference in communities and in the lives of residents that live in those neighborhoods.”

The problem, according to freshman Whitney Reese, is that in many communities the trust in the police force is non-existent.

“Not all policemen are bad, but the ones that are bad they get seen as terrible people so everyone see’s them as terrible,” said Whitney Reese.

To build trust in their community Schafer says he teaches his students to be proactive while in the line of duty.

“There has to be communication within the police department, and between the police department and the public,” said Dr. Schafer. “Officers need to work hard to communicate well with the public, not just to do the bare minimum in performing their duties.”

“I think that they should change the laws that policemen have to follow because obviously they’re not working,” said Reese. “Everybody wants justice, but in this case a lot of people feel like justice wasn’t served.”

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