Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office Internship; Racial issues?
During my time working with the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office I had ran into a few situations where the race card was pulled out. In this internship I had worked in multiple areas among Milwaukee County: the airport, communication center, courthouse, jail, and patrol division. In these areas, race became an issue for citizens and inmates in the jail and patrol division. The internship did not consist of me doing a lot of work but it did give me insight on how things are from the sheriffs point of view in difficult situations.
While working in the patrol division, I basically did a ride along with the deputy. One of the nights that I was doing my internship, I was with a deputy that had to patrol the Milwaukee County Parks. Lately, there has been a lot of problems with one park in specific. There will be groups of teenagers or young adults hanging out at this park playing loud music, smoking, and drinking. They try to stay after park close and cause a lot of conflict when the Sheriffs show up to kick them out. One of the African-American individuals that was at this park ended up having a warrant on him. So the deputy arrested him and searched through his car as he was instructed to do. While this was happening, his African-American friends came up to the car and was video recording the deputies claiming that their friend was only getting arrested “because he is black.”
Working at the jail was a little different. The main situation that I had noticed was with a Hispanic male. He was claiming to have a medical emergency and the correctional officer did not do anything about it. However, the officer was very well aware of what was going on and he apparently does this all the time. Well he eventually got a hold of some sort of aluminum foil and cut the back of his throat with it. He spit up blood everywhere in his room and when other correctional officers arrived he started yelling because it was the “black officers fault.” He even tried throwing me in the situation by asking me, the “white lady” to snitch on the “black lady.”
Throughout the country, racial discrimination is a huge issue between police and citizens. Stewart (2009) explained that while all minority citizens are distrusting of the police, African-American citizens are really distrusting of the police and they will report negative situations where they have dealt with the police. Many individuals believe that the police are out to get the minority citizens and that they do not treat them the same was as they would with white citizens. Hence all the Black Life’s Matter stuff that is going around. Yes, I agree that black life’s matter, but so do the police’s. There are police shootings and killings every single day and that does not get the media attention as to if an African-American citizen were to get shot by a police officer. There are bad cops, but that does not mean the majority of them are bad and that is something that people need to come to terms with. Not every cop is going to shoot an African-American citizen that they encounter with. When it comes down to it, if any cop or sheriff suspects any possible harm, they do what they were trained to do. It is their job. Every cop/sheriff puts their life at stake when going to work to protect the citizens of the United States because that is their job.
Stewart, Eric A., Eric P. Braumer, Rod K. Brunson, and Ronald L. Simons. (2009). Neighborhood racial context and perceptions of police-based racial discrimination among black youth. Criminology, 47(3): 847–888.