Exploring Police and Refugee Community Relationships in Phoenix: An Analysis of Stakeholder Interviews
Every year, millions of people find themselves displaced from their homes because of fear or threats of violence. Some of these people will become refugees, who will then be resettled in the United States. In order to help with the resettlement process, refugees are given cultural orientations through their resettlement organizations. The Phoenix Police Department teaches one of these cultural orientations for local resettlement agencies in order to dispel some of the fears refugees have about law enforcement and build a stronger relationship with the refugee community. Past research on this topic has been limited within the United States, but communities are still trying to figure out how to interact with refugees despite not knowing how to do it. There are various possible complications inherent in the integration process and many potential methods of trust building available to the refugee community and public services like law enforcement. This project seeks to understand the refugee resettlement process through field observation of the cultural orientation taught by the Phoenix Police Department and interviews with detectives familiar with the process in Phoenix. Cultural and language differences as well as lack of education and research on the topic of refugee resettlement are all key points in comprehending what the police, refugees, and resettlement organizations are doing during the integration process. Once these issues are addressed to alleviate gaps in knowledge about refugees, it may be possible to adjust the process to be easier for stakeholders involved in refugee resettlement.