NYC Gives Officers Advice About How to Deal “Multicultural Society”


A New York City Police Academy training manual describes various immigrant and ethnic groups that police officers will encounter. Titled “Policing a Multicultural Society,” it tries to help recruits overcome cultural barriers that threaten to escalate tense situations and can stymie efforts to elicit information, reports the New York Times. It resembles a travel guide, giving advice to help police officers navigate a patchwork of foreign cultures. Officers are reminded that everyday gestures, like using a finger to point at someone, for instance, can cause unintended offense. “Beckoning people to come to you by holding your palms up, for example, may be seen as obscene among Latin Americans,” the guide says. “Probably it is best for police officers to avoid using hand gestures until they have acquainted themselves with what they mean to the community members whom they serve.” Some advice — like a description of how African immigrants prefer to shake hands “through a light touch of the palms,” rather than a firm grip could belong in a guide on business etiquette. Other tips deal with situations unique to policing, like responding to 911 calls or conducting car stops.

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