Since the shooting of unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo by New York City police officers in 1999, the controversy over racial profiling in law enforcement has captured the attention of the American public, and prompted social psychologists to focus on the incidence of racial bias in policing. Yet to date there has been little collaboration between researchers and law enforcement agencies, meaning that the findings of these studies are unknown to the people who could best apply them.
To remedy this divide, Jennifer Eberhardt of Stanford University is organizing a series of conferences in 2004 and 2005 that would bring researchers on racial profiling together with leaders in law enforcement. Besides providing law enforcement agencies with information on what is currently known about racial bias, the conferences will allow researchers the opportunity to propose studies that involve police officers as study participants. By opening the lines of communication, Eberhardt hopes to fuel more cooperation between researchers and police, and encourage law enforcement agencies to participate in future studies. Presenters at the conferences will address topics such as racial bias in the decision to fire upon a suspect, and stereotype threat in policing. Eberhardt will bring together the papers from the conferences for an edited volume.