This paper analyzes police and public reactions to an intergroup-communication intervention developed and tested in Santa Barbara, California. We discuss the theory underlying the development of the intervention as well as its implementation as a means of improving relationships between police officers and members of the Hispanic community. Based on thematic analysis of interviews with program participants, we provide qualitative evidence about police and public reactions to the intervention. The data presented herein indicate that the intervention improved empathy and trust between participants from both groups. These results suggest that interventions based on principles of intergroup communication could be a useful mechanism for improving relationships between police and historically marginalized communities. They also provide a promising framework for research on how police can translate research into practice in the area of community trust-building with groups reluctant to engage with police. Future research should begin testing the effectiveness of these types of interventions using experimental or quasi-experimental methods.
- Hispanic immigrant community
- intergroup communication
- intergroup contact
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)