By Dr. Serita Whiting
Jackson Advocate Guest Writer
The police profession is no easy task. It takes individuals with the courage to pledge their life to serve and protect all citizens.
It also requires scholars, vested in the positive transformation of policing and a passion for optimistic police and citizen outcomes, to author books addressing practical and evidence-based policing.
Everette Penn and Shannon Davenport authored an important book entitled Police and YOUth. This book was published by Routledge in 2022.
This book provides a review of past and present policing. The authors discuss six eras of policing, beginning with policing before the 1900s and ending with 21st Century policing. They examine community policing efforts and conflicts stemming from race and social class.
The Police and YOUth book focuses on how the future of policing can incorporate evidence-based approaches such as the Teen And Police Service Academy (TAPS).
TAPS is a unique program that partners police with at-risk youth to reduce crime by building strong relations between police and youth. TAPS was co-founded by Dr. Penn, one of the authors of this book.
This book describes in detail six “Yous” and the role each “You” plays in establishing positive relations between police and youth. The “Yous” include police, youth, and parents.
Police and YOUth examines the interaction between police and youth through the lens of the social distance hypothesis. The authors explain that the social distance hypothesis “is why the tension between youth and law enforcement exists, and that tension is exacerbated if the social distance is not reduced between the two groups.”
This book helps us understand the “application, evaluation, and creation of new thinking on the subject” of the root causes of social distance between police and youth. The authors discuss youth culture, the power of youth, and the clash between police and youth. They also provide many resources to reduce the social distance between police and youth.
Publisher’s Note: Dr. Serita Whiting, Ph.D. is a Research Assistant Professor at Prairie View A&M University College of Justice Studies Department of Juvenile Justice. She also is a member of the Black Criminologists Forum (BCF). BCF is a national association of nearly 70 Black scholars holding a doctorate degree in criminology, criminal justice, juvenile justice, or a related field of study.