The Impact of New Immigration Patterns on the Provision of Police Services in Midwestern Communities

Leigh Herbst, University of Nebraska at Omaha

The face of America is changing. Immigration patterns have brought to the United States an increased number of new residents and people from a wide variety of countries and cultures. A large number of immigrants from Latin America, Balkan and Asian countries, in particular, have moved to states like Missouri and Nebraska in search of job opportunities, due in part to the relocation of large meat and poultry processing companies. As a result of the large influx of immigrants, law enforcement agencies are now faced with new challenges in addressing the needs of immigrant communities. These challenges include acknowledging language and cultural barriers and creating effective police-community relations with immigrant communities, while maintaining current relationships with the majority communities. The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of new immigration patterns on police-community relations in the Midwest. Much of the research on police and community relations in the United States has focused on large police agencies located in metropolitan areas. This research suggests that demographic change and new industrialization waves have a significant influence on police-community relations and police agency operation. Little research, however, has addressed the relationship between demographic change and police response in small communities, particularly in the Midwestern region of this country.

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Updated 05/20/2006