A new semester-long lecture series at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University will focus on how law enforcement deals with the public it serves, particularly minority communities.
The goal, say lecture organizers, is to begin a community-wide dialogue focusing on a range of topics, including tensions between communities of color and law enforcement; race and community engagement efforts by local police departments; research on criminal justice and policing; and immigration enforcement at the local level.
Bush School professor Domonic A. Bearfield, coordinator of the series, says he hopes to begin a conversation among researchers, law enforcement, and citizens.
“In the age of social media and instant communication, incidents between law enforcement and citizens across the nation quickly garner national attention,” Bearfield said. “Given the climate that surrounds these incidents and the resulting publicity, it seems to be a good time to look for ways to ameliorate the concerns of both sides, and also seek input from experts in the field,” he added.
Bearfield also said that organizers hope to extend the events’ reach through the sponsorship of several student organizations, including the Black Graduate Student Organization and the Bush School Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
The first lecture on Sept. 21 will be given by Khalilah Brown-Dean of Quinnipiac University, and is titled “Beyond Ferguson: Rethinking Community and Social Justice in the United States.” It will be held at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center.
The second event, co-hosted by the Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economic, and Public Policy, will also be held on Oct. 12 in the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center with Brian Williams, University of Georgia, moderating a panel discussion of police chiefs from Bryan, College Station and Texas A&M.
And the final lecture will be Nov. 14 in the George Bush Library’s Orientation Theater, given by Dr. Charles Epp, from the University of Kansas.
Each event will begin at 5:30 p.m., preceded by a reception at 5 p.m. The events are open to the public.