Local author visits CWU for Racism & Criminal Justice series to discuss racism within police culture

Jamie Wyatt, Staff Reporter

Brooks Library is hosting a virtual series in partnership with Law and Justice professor Roger Schaefer to discuss the current controversial topic of racism through the lens of criminal justice. 

The Racism & Criminal Justice series is coming to a close. Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at noon, the second to last event in the series was held, featuring Norm Stamper, a 34 year police veteran and former Seattle police chief. 

Stamper is the author of two books, “To Protect and Serve: How to Fix America’s Police” (2016) and “Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing” (2005). 

At the event, the conversation flowed easily between Stamper and Schaefer while discussing heavy topics. They discussed Blue Lives Matter vs. Black Lives Matter, racism within police culture and what reform in our police structure might actually look like. 

Stamper addressed his early career mistakes regarding using tear gas on non-violent protestors and how the process of evolving thought is transformative. Stamper gave a background into how policing ideology started and how the organization we know began during the industrial revolution. 

One of the biggest points Stamper made was about how he felt that our policing infrastructure has been left without oversight or a controlling body over them. Stamper expressed his support for police reform, as well as what exactly police reform means. 

Rebecca Lubas, Dean of Libraries, discussed the library’s partnership with Shaefer’s Racism & Criminal series, then cited the library’s anti-racism commitment as well as their key three-year goals that includes bringing discussions, opportunities, and visibility to underrepresented communities. This information is available on the library’s About Us section.

When asked about working with Shaefer, “We really wanted to be able to offer as many opportunities as possible to talk about current events. I talked about advancing anti-racism and library’s already had a good connection with the professor [Schaefer],” Lubas said. 

Lubas referred Maureen Rust, Outreach and Community Engagement librarian for feedback on the event. 

“There were a total of 12 participants, a nice mix of faculty, staff and students,” Rust said. 

Previous talks in the series included one with George Yancy, author of “Black Bodies, White Gaze” (2008), and Philosophy professor at Emory University. The recording of that event can be viewed here. The recording for May 11, 2021 event was not available at press time. 

The next talk in the Racism & Criminal Justice series is linked to the book, “A Theory of African American Offending: Race, Racism, and Crime” by J.D. Unnever and S.L. Gabbidon, available for rental through Brook Library by eBook. The event for this book will take place on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at noon. Registration is required and can be done here.