Deliberation on Policing and the Community

Written by Zayna Shah and Ariel Hochman ||

A deliberation on the topic of policing was held Tuesday afternoon in Decker 201. The deliberation was to educate and communicate about the policing and justice system. Around 12 students attended, and there were 4 moderators including Professor Carla Michalak, Professor Jesse Boring, Professor Kathleen McKenna and Professor Douglas Garnar. The forum used for this deliberation was made by the National Issues Forums (NIFI). The complete title of the forum is “Policing; What Should We DO to Ensure Fair Treatment and Keep Neighborhoods Safe for Everyone?”

Professor Carla Michalak said “We were trying to have a more holistic approach to policing and not to necessarily make a comment or a statement on policing per say but to have people take a holistic approach on what we can do.” She explained the reason she thought this event was important for SUNY Broome students, “I thought this topic was really valuable because when I did this a year ago in my class, I just did it with my American Government students, the stories they shared and experiences with the police in their own communities was actually really frightening and sad.” She pointed out that students may not encounter experiences with police brutality within the community here, but there is still a conversation that needs to be had. 

During the deliberation attendees were split up into 2 groups where students could talk amongst each other, and the moderators led and regulated these discussions. There was equal room to talk for every participant, and it was encouraged that everyone take part in this discussion. The attendees were given 3 options to read through that could be possible solutions to policing issues. There was time for everyone to share their opinion and talk about whether or not they agreed or disagreed with certain points. It was an open analysis where students/faculty talked about their personal experiences and why they thought it was important to show up in the first place. There were a range of topics discussed on how we would best insure the safety of the community as a whole, and how to best protect our black community especially. This deliberation is a great way to learn about different individual experiences and offer eye-opening discoveries. One major topic that was brought up was the fact that police officers are not trained to handle mental health crises and implementing mental health officials such as social workers would be beneficial to those who are suffering mental health issues. People in crisis are also at high risk of police brutality due to a lack of training and knowledge on mental health cases. Ithaca is planning to implement mental health professionals into the police force to better  handle all the different types of cases that might come their way. 

There will be another deliberation held on May 3, 2022 on racial justice. This will be the second time the racial justice deliberation will be held on campus, the first being last December, which had a sizable turnout. Any students who are interested in becoming a moderator for future deliberations can be trained on April 11, 2022. 

For more information contact Carla Michalak michalakcm@sunybroome.edu.

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