“Ferguson Effect”

Who: Graham, D. (2015, October 26). The FBI Director’s Troubling Comments on the ‘Ferguson Effect’. Retrieved January 19, 2016, from http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/10/the-fbi-directors-troubling-comments-on-the-ferguson-effect/412351/

What: This article includes an interview with the FBI’s director over the topic of the “Ferguson Effect.” The Ferguson Effect is the phenomenon, due to  black teenagers being killed by cops, is explained as a fear cops have developed. The director explains he believes cops are being to be worried about completely job tasks in fear they will get in trouble or be attacked. This is believed to be causing a rise in crime due to the lack of policing. Police chiefs are coming out stating that this phenomenon is not real, crime spikes occur regardless of police action.

Why: I chose this article because it introduces the topic of police becoming fearful to do their jobs, which in understandable. I believe this article and topic fit into the theme, power and powerless, because it demonstrates how police were once the picture of power but have now become powerless as riots have imposed fear in police. The article, “What Happened in Ferguson?” by Buchanan, sparked my curiosity about this whole situation. “What happened in Ferguson?” mentions the facts of the situation and even includes what took place (riots) on the anniversary of Mr. Browns’s. The fact that retaliation occurred year later depicts what police are dealing with today, people who are often very opinionated and headstrong. These people are often acting on rumors rather than facts, no matter what the facts may be. These people have become dangerous, not only towards other citizens and businesses, but police officers. Some argue officers should not have an issue with completely their tasks throughout the day if they are acting in the “right” ways, but many people will act out just to provoke officers.In any situation cops should behave in a professional manner, but the growing fear is causing officers to shy away from stopping crime.
How: As i read this article, i was surprised they had labeled this growing fear that cops are facing. It is understandable that some cops are “bad” and “good” but fear is apparent in both. I am not sure if Ferguson Effect is the most correct name they could have used but it gets the initial point across, shootings and riots are causing people to hate cops. I was also surprised that the FBI Director and police chiefs are have differing opinions on this topic. I assume police chiefs may be disagreeing and saying their cops are not fearful in order to make their citizens feel safer in their communities. People who are acting out against cops and law enforcement do not need to be reassured that they are actively causing fears and disruption.

3 thoughts on ““Ferguson Effect”

  1. rosalyng2015 says:

    This whole power v. powerless discourse is troubling. What do we want from police? Not just the bad ones, but the good ones also? It seems we want them to enforce law in a ‘nicer’ way without the use of deadly force, or hurting anyone’s feelings. Of course the politically correct term is in a ‘professional’ manner. However, are we working just as hard at limiting the manufacture and sales of guns to the public? Are we developing safety devices in automobiles like remote kill switches to stop fleeing cars, mandatory alcohol detection devices in ALL cars, etc… We do not want ANY law enforcement officer violating our civil rights but we are not willing to realize we need to be more responsible civilians. No wonder the police are afraid. The criminal element in society has more rights than the law enforcement elements.

    I cannot say I ‘loved’ your post because it was so disturbing. But I can say that I learned a lot from it, and I do like learning!


    • sarahsjs96 says:

      I agree with you, it is a troubling topic and it is almost sickening to see how members of our society are behaving and treating police officers. I believe in a perfect world everyone would realize this and start behaving but sadly we live in a very imperfect world where violence continues.


  2. SamU says:

    This is somewhat of a touchy subject for me because it is one of those scenarios where the one bad one ruins it for the rest of them. I know many police officers and a lot of them are kind people who are just trying to do their work. Fear is contagious in certain situations so often when an officer is dealing with someone who is afraid for they are in harms way, may make the police officer fear for his own safety. I haven’t had many encounters with the police but in my experience the more you cooperate the more reasonable they will be with you. Of course you never know when you might end up with a bad cop, as much as I want to defend the law enforcement there are some out there who abuse their powers.

    I think that you are right when you say the directors are probably saying that officers aren’t afraid to make citizens feel safe. The whole police brutality craze has definitely impacted both parties in this situation.

    Liked by 1 person

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