Talking with the Police Chief

Social Awareness

Family Resources on Talking with the Police Chief

Lesson Topic

Developing trust with police

Essential Question

How can we develop common ground between police officers and People of Color?

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Talking with the Police Chief – Jada

If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students considered issues of systemic racism and how this applies to policing. In class students discussed the difficult history between people of color and law enforcement. In small groups students developed a set of interview questions that they would ask if they had the opportunity to interview a local police chief or sheriff.

Getting Ready for the Conversation

The video for this module features Jada interviewing the (now retired) police chief of the Los Angeles School Police Department. In this interview Jada and Chief Zipperman discuss the difficult history conflict between police and communities of color and how this manifests today.

Conversation notes:
Understanding U.S. history means understanding the ample evidence of the use of law enforcement to intimidate and infringe on the rights of people of color rather than providing protection and support. Jada and Chief Zipperman discuss this disconnect in stark and realistic terms. Improving the conditions of all people requires discussions like this in order for people to move to collective understanding that can lead to positive change. During discussions it is also important to stress that discussion of mistrust between groups of people should not lead to blaming individuals (such as individual police officers) for events in the past.

For more in depth resources on issues of equity in education visit the websites of The Education Trust:

Resources from Learning for Justice a project of The Southern Poverty Law Center:

Race Matters resource collection from the Annie E. Casey Foundation:[]=report_series:Race%20Matters%20Collection

Greater Good article by Jill Suttie on reducing racial bias in your children:

Constructive Conversation Starters

The first item is for follow-up after viewing the lesson video and participating in class activities.

What questions did your group (or you) come up with that you ask in an interview with a law enforcement leader? Why would you choose these questions? What answers would you expect? Why do you think so?

Describe some historical events that would create mistrust between law enforcement and different racial or marginalized groups. Research this issue if necessary.

What should be done to promote more trust between law enforcement and groups of people who have experienced discrimination? What actions can we take in our neighborhood and community to improve the situation or build trust? Why would these actions be effective?

School to Home Resources on Talking with the Police Chief

Lesson Plan

Continuing the dialog

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In answering one of Jada’s questions Chief Zipperman says, “it’s more important for us to continue the dialog, I think it’s more important for us to take a look at the challenges that young people are facing, particularly young People of Color”. What issues do you see as important regarding young People of Color in your community? Why is it important to concentrate on the issues you raise?

Fixing the relationship

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Jada says, “it saddens me that sometimes I feel like I can’t do anything to fix the relationship between law enforcement and People of Color”. Do you feel that same way Jada does? Why or why not?

Improving leadership

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While discussing difficult events between police officers and People of Color Jada comments, “what our country and people in power continuously do is put a blanket over it”. Chief Zipperman responds, “some of the things you mention are true”. Describe why you think Jada says this and why Chief Zipperman agrees.

Moving in the right direction

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Regarding historical problems with policing and many People of Color Chief Zipperman says, “the more we continue that conversation, the more we continue that dialog, the more we have a better understanding of why young people feel the way they do today, I think we’ll be heading in the right direction”. Develop a brief plan for how this dialog could happen in your community. Why would your plan be effective?

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