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Law Enforcement and Arab American Community Relations After September 11, 2001: Engagement in a Time of Uncertainty

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2006
41 pages
This federally supported study examined the effects, nationally, of September 11, 2001 on law enforcement agencies and communities with high concentrations of Arab-American residents offering an insight into the current relations between Arab-Americans and local and Federal law enforcement.
The relations between Arab-American communities and law enforcement agencies fell into two overall categories. First, Arab-Americans reported a fair amount of goodwill toward local police agencies. Where departments invested resources to cultivate this goodwill, the evidence suggested dividends in the form of reduced tension. However, community perceptions of Federal law enforcement were less positive. Many Arab-Americans were fearful and suspicious of Federal efforts. In addition, community members and law enforcement respondents wanted improved relations; however, activity in this area was minimal. Local and Federal law enforcement agencies are likely to continue to feel pressure to incorporate counterterrorism into their work, suggesting that they should continue to be mindful of the principles of community policing. Significant changes have been felt and experienced by many since the attacks of September 11, 2001. With funding from the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, the Vera Institute of Justice undertook a research project to gauge the current state of relations between Arab-American communities and local and Federal law enforcement agencies and to identify barriers to better relations and promising approaches emerging from existing efforts to build trust while addressing crime and challenges to public safety. Interviews were conducted with Arab-American leaders and community residents, police administrators and patrol officers, and FBI field agents and community outreach specialists. The study was conducted between 2002 and 2005. References

Date Published: June 1, 2006