Police Convention Comes to Penn State
UNIVERSITY PARK- Pennsylvania police are returning to their police departments this weekend with more knowledge on the dangers of heavy policing after The Rock Ethics Institute held the first ever Ethics of Policing Convention. The event sponsored by multiple research institutions included about 15 different workshops and speakers from around the country. Ted Toadvine, Director of The Rock Institute was pleased with the success of the convention.
“We realized that these are extremely complicated issues and that people feel strongly about them because they are so complex and so we thought that bringing people in to just have a reasonable conversation about the challenges from a number of different perspectives and about how we can move forward to have a sense of what ethical principles should guide good policing.”
The convention focused on the dangers of heavy policing in the United States specifically to African Americans and other minority communities. The event also covered the growing crisis of police brutality, shootings, and racism. Associate Director of The Rock Institute and professor of philosophy, Eduardo Mendieta say it is important to look at both perspectives.
“We think we need to educate not just citizens but the police. So, this conference is what needs to happen across society, police violence of brown people is part of a culture and so the police reflect the biases of our community.”
The conference included two award-winning short film screenings, “Nightcall and Junior,” as well as an open discussion with directors, writers, and actors. A community dialogue on criminal justice was also hosted with local State College police. Ben Jones Assistant Director of the Ethics Institute says for many citizens police serve as the face of government.
“One thing that’s been going on and I know in State College locally and this was an issue that was raised in the Friday panel with the police chief and community leaders, is really having these dialogues with the community and trying to be proactive in terms of what are the concerns that the community has about police practices and sort of building that trust early on.”
Social justice activist Bryan Stevenson will be at Penn State March 20 to continue the discussion on inequalities in the criminal justice system.