Eleventh Annual Fall Ethics Symposium

The Ethics of Policing

Monday and Tuesday, November 21 - 22, 2016

Recital Hall, Cosumnes River College (Monday, November 21);

Redwood Room (University Union), Sacramento State (Tuesday, November 22)

Symposium Flyer

Criminal justice reform is on the minds of many American citizens, and especially concerns about the use of aggressive tactics by law enforcement officers. In cities all over the country, law enforcement officers find themselves under intense scrutiny and criticism in the wake of several highly publicized and tragic instances of alleged police misconduct. How did we get into the current situation? What can we do to promote the morally best behavior in officers, the morally best outcomes for the communities they serve, and the morally best structures for accountability and reform?

This event is free and open to the general public. Here are links for Directions and a Campus Map for Cosumnes River College. Here are links for Directions and a Campus Map for Sacramento State.


Symposium Program


Monday, November 21, 2016: Cosumnes River College, Recital Hall


8:15 am - 8:45 am: Morning Refreshments, Coffee/Tea


8:45 am - 9:00 am: Greetings and Opening Remarks

Rick Schubert
Professor of Philosophy
Cosumnes River College and Executive Director
CRC-CPPE Fall Ethics Symposium Series

Kyle Swan
Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Director
Center for Practical and Professional Ethics
California State University, Sacramento

Christina Bellon
Associate Dean for Budget and Assessment
College of Arts & Letters, Sacramento State University
California State University, Sacramento

Gregory McCormac
Interim Dean of Humanities & Social Science
Cosumnes River College

Torence Powell
Associate Vice President
Instruction and Student Learning
Cosumnes River College


9:00 am – 10:20 am Session #1: Police Militarization and its Impact on Minority Groups (Link to YouTube video)

Main Speaker: Abigail Hall Blanco, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Tampa

Abstract: Though a current hot topic, police militarization is not a new phenomenon in the United States. In fact, the current state of policing in the United States may be traced, at least in part, to a variety of foreign interventions including WWII and Vietnam. Using the tools of economics, we can explain how these conflicts, combine with the subsequent “wars” on drugs and terror have contributed immensely to the militarization of domestic police. In addition, we can come to understand how these problems are more likely to disproportionately impact individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly racial minorities.

Bio: Abigail R. Hall Blanco is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Tampa. She received her Ph.D. from George Mason University. Her work includes topics surrounding women's issues in business and the family, civil and economic liberty, the U.S. military and national defense, including, domestic police militarization, arms sales, weapons as foreign aid, and the political economy of military technology.

Additional Panelists for this Session:

Chris W. Surprenant
Associate Professor of Philosophy
University of New Orleans

Keith J. Staten
Law Office of Keith J. Staten and Associates


10:30 am – 11:50 am Session #2: Police violence and legitimacy:  Oakland, Chicago, Ferguson, and beyond (Link to YouTube video)

Main Speaker: Claudio Vera Sanchez, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Roosevelt University

Abstract: The nationwide patterns of violence against unarmed men of color by the police in cities like Oakland, Chicago, and Ferguson, suggest that the U.S. system of policing is in crisis. Chaney & Robertson (2015) report that 46% of those killed by the police are unarmed. Furthermore, they find that officers are rarely indicted when men of color die. Drawing from interviews with inner city residents and their experiences with the police, this presentation will explore the following questions: (1) what is the role/function of the U.S. police in a democratic society? (2) do patterns of violence against unarmed men of color impact police legitimacy? and (3) what are the policy implications of these alarming trends?

Bio: Claudio Vera Sanchez is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research focuses on how at-risk, inner city Latino and African American youth are affected by policing techniques and policies.

Additional Panelists for this Session:

Sanjay Marwah
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice
California State University, East Bay

Abigail Hall Blanco
Assistant Professor of Economics
University of Tampa

Jody Johnson
RoccSolid Advisement


12:00 am - 1:20 pm Lunch Break

Please visit one of the dining establishments serving the campus community.


1:30pm - 2:50 pm Session #3: Democratizing Police Accountability: The Role of Cognition (Link to YouTube video)

Main Speaker: Sanjay Marwah, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, California State University, East Bay

Abstract: Most efforts to promote police accountability emphasize authority in determining who implements accountability, how accountability will be garnered, and the purpose of standards and criteria of accountability. But without the involvement of police officers and the exercise of their cognitive capacities, police accountability will remain episodic, partial, and dictated by ideological preferences and those with greater power and influence to dictate accountability outcomes. This paper will examine the benefits of increasing attention to the cognitive capacities of police officers and how police accountability can be democratized. This would involve allowing police officers to develop self-accountability. It would lead to healthier and more sustainable police accountability, increased agency by officers in the accountability of their discretionary decisions, and greater focus on evaluation through the exercise of cognitive capacities.

Bio: Sanjay Marwah is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at CSU East Bay. He received his PhD. In Public Policy from George Mason University and M.A. in International Political Economy from Claremont Graduate University. His teaching and research interests include democratic policing, cultural political economy, urban studies and social problems, Mertonian theory, and strain and anomie theories.

Additional Panelists for this Session:

Claudio Vera Sanchez
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
Roosevelt University

Jacob Velasquez
Doctoral Student in Philosophy
University of California, Davis


2:50 pm - 3:50 pm: Reception, Light Refreshments



Tuesday, November 22, 2016: Sacramento State, Redwood Room (University Union)


8:45 am - 9:15 am: Morning Refreshments, Coffee/Tea


9:15 am - 9:30 am: Greetings and Opening Remarks (Link to YouTube video)

Kyle Swan
Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Director
Center for Practical and Professional Ethics
California State University, Sacramento

Rick Schubert
Professor of Philosophy
Cosumnes River College and Executive Director
CRC-CPPE Fall Ethics Symposium Series

Russell DiSilvestro
Chair, Department of Philosophy
California State University, Sacramento

Torence Powell
Associate Vice President
Instruction and Student Learning
Cosumnes River College

Ming-Tung “Mike” Lee
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
California State University, Sacramento

Robert S. Nelsen
President
California State University, Sacramento


9:30 am – 10:50 am Session #4: Policing and Punishment: Philosophical Problems (Link to YouTube video)

Main Speaker: Chris W. Surprenant, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of New Orleans

Abstract: Perhaps the most important problem faced by the United States is addressing its broken criminal justice system. While it may seem obvious that the US is in need of criminal justice reform and that thoughtful reform must be preceded by thoughtful discussion, there has been almost no philosophical treatment of punishment and policing generally, or of most specific means of punishment that have become especially popular in the US: incarceration and fines paid to the state. This talk will focus on philosophical issues related to punishment and policing generally, consider the appropriate aims of punishment and criteria for identifying just and unjust punishment, and examine if our current approaches to punishment in the US are just.

Bio: Chris W. Surprenant is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of New Orleans. He received his Ph.D. from Boston University. He is also the director of the Alexis de Tocqueville Project on Law, Liberty, and Morality, which examines enduring questions in Western moral and political thought. He is the author of Kant and the Cultivation of Virtue and he specializes in the History of Philosophy, Moral Philosophy, and Political Philosophy.

Additional Panelists for this Session:

Ryan Getty
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
California State University, Sacramento

Timothy Houk
Ph.D. Candidate in Philosophy
University of California, Davis


11:00 am - 12:20 pm Lunch Break

Please visit one of the dining establishments serving campus in the University Union or Riverfront Center.


12:30 am – 1:50 pm Session #5: Know Your Rights: A historical review of your rights under the Constitution and how to handle police encounters (Link to YouTube video)

Main Speaker: Keith Staten, The Law Office of Keith J. Staten & Associates

Abstract: I discuss rights given under the constitution and a historical perspective on why they exist.  We then discuss the rights associated with encounters with police and why you should exercise your rights.  We also discuss the benefits from doing so and the consequences when you don't.  The goal is to increase the education of the public and decrease violent encounters leading to death of citizens at the hands of law enforcement.

Bio: Keith Staten is CEO and practicing attorney at the Law Office of Keith J. Staten & Associates. He received his J.D. from the University of Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. His practice specializes in handling complex criminal litigation, DUI litigation and administrative licensing issues and he also devotes a considerable about of time to community service clinics, public speaking and mentoring. The Sacramento County Indigent Defense Panel named him Attorney of the Year in 2012. In 2014 The Hub magazine recognized him as a leader in the community.  The Wiley Manuel Bar Association named him attorney of the year in 2014.

Additional Panelists for this Session:

Chris W. Surprenant
Associate Professor of Philosophy
University of New Orleans

Lotus Fung
J.D. Student
University of California, Davis


2:00pm - 3:50 pm Session #6: Police Training and Socialization (Link to YouTube video)

Main Speaker: Ryan Getty, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, California State University, Sacramento

Abstract: Police are essentially gleaned from a biased sample; those who sincerely want to become police are those who apply. If an applicant is not deemed “suitable” by the organization’s standards, they are dropped from the hiring process.  The next step in organizational suitability is successful completion of the academy.  Here is where some socialization occurs but uniformity within general standards is expected.  If a recruit passes all these steps, he or she enters field training.  This is systematic training done by senior officers and/or field training officers.  This is the first stage at which unique behaviours are modeled and socialization becomes apparent to the department and citizens.  These modeled behaviours can have a tremendous impact on organizations and the officers’ career trajectory.

Bio: Ryan Getty is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at CSU Sacramento. He received his M.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at Arlington and his Ph.D. in Criminology at the University of Texas at Dallas.  He specializes in police administration, management, and officer training. He is also a 25-year veteran police officer and prior chief of police.

Additional Panelists for this Session:

Chong Choe-Smith
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
California State University, Sacramento

Lance Kennix
B.A. Philosophy (‘08)
California State University, Sacramento


4:00 pm - 5:00 pm: Reception, Light Refreshments


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

Funding for this project was provided by the John Templeton Foundation through a grant from the Institute for Humane Studies and by the Wagenlis Foundation through a grant to the Cosumnes River College Foundation.

We also thank:

Academic Technology and Creative Services, Sacramento State
Visiting Scholars Program, Sacramento State
Cosumnes River College Graphic Design Services
Cosumnes River College Printing Services
Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium