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The Psychology of Policing

How Flawed Reforms are Prolonging a Crisis

A Forensic Fridays Seminar

Friday, September 15
1 - 4:30 p.m.

Duquesne University Power Center Ballroom

Public suspicion of authority and police power goes back to the founding of our nation, and our society has always struggled with the need for reform and how best to achieve it. Here in Pittsburgh, the day of reckoning came in 1997, when the U.S. Department of Justice responded to 66 ACLU complaints alleging civil rights violations by police with the nation's first federal intervention into local policing by means of a consent decree. At that time, public sentiment inflamed by the deaths of Armstrong Tunnels motorist Jerry Jackson and businessman Jonny Gammage created an atmosphere embracing this novel federal intervention. But was the decree an exercise in social engineering that resulted in unrealistic expectations of accountability for the public, alienating the community and cops alike? And 20 years later, in the wake of the beating of CAPA student Jordan Miles and the conviction of Chief Nate Harper for diverting public funds, what can be said about the value of such externally driven efforts at systemic reform?

In a collaborative effort to analyze the multiplicity of factors that destine police reform efforts either to succeed or fail, this seminar will explore the combined influence and inherent bias that political, social, media and administration customs and habits weave into the psychology of everyday urban policing.

  • Retired Pittsburgh Officer, Allegheny County Detective and Freelance Writer Chuck Bosetti
  • Duquesne University Associate Professor of Sociology Norman Conti
  • Independent Filmmaker (Enough is ENOUGH: The Death of Jonny Gammage) Billy Jackson
  • Duquesne University Assistant Professor of Communication and Rhetorical Studies Craig T. Maier
  • Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board Director Elizabeth C. Pittinger
  • Pittsburgh Fraternal Order of Police President and Veteran Police Officer Robert Swartzwelder
  • Former Allegheny County Coroner/Medical Examiner Cyril H. Wecht

Download Program Flyer

This program is approved by the Pennsylvania CLE Board as both an ONSITE and an ONLINE program for two (2) hours of Substantive CLE credit and one (1) hour of Ethics CLE credit.

This program is offered for 3.0 hours of social work continuing education through co-sponsorship of the University of Pittsburgh's School of Social Work, a Council on Social Work Education-accredited school and, therefore, a PA pre-approved provider of social continuing education. These credit hours satisfy requirements for LSW/LCSW, LPC and LMFT biennial license renewal. For information on social work continuing education call (412) 624-3711. Please note that these credits are offered only for ONSITE attendance.

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