The following is part 2 of 2 in our IACP Leadership Series conversation between Benchmark CEO Ron Huberman and John Rappaport, Professor of Law, Ludwig and Hilde Wolf Research Scholar, University of Chicago. In this entry, Mr. Rappaport shares his thoughts on where policing fits in dealing with today’s broad societal issues and needs. He also weighs in on the growing importance of data collection and in-depth research to drive and direct applied science for developing more effective reform and police support measures.

RH: John, as we continue our discussion on police reform, I’d like to talk about the fundamentally broader societal pictures that relate to both police and race which have all come together, in many ways, with the police in the middle.

From my experience, a critical part of the equity conversation has to be K-12 spending for schools. It has to be housing. And the discrimination therein. There’s a very long list of things, yet from my vantage point, we are months and months into this dialogue . . . and it has not grown any broader than police. it’s still very narrow. First, do you agree?  And secondly, what do you make of that? What do you make of something, where historically there are people who say, “Hey, yes, we need to reform police”? There’s a real issue there. I hope no one’s denying that reform needs to occur, but why is it not broadened?

JR: I think that a lot of people who are active in policing issues right now would say that’s the backdrop for all of this. They would say that’s exactly what defunding is about. It’s about freeing up funds to be spent on K-12 education or low-income housing or other things. And sometimes you hear variations of the phrase — like divest-invest, right? It’s divest money from the police and invest it elsewhere, or defund and reallocate, or things like this. I agree that the messaging tends to focus exclusively on the policing part. I’m just speculating here, but it could be because there’s more consensus about where the money should come from . . . than what it should go to.

So, it may be that if you walked around and say, “Well, what should we do with this money that we’re going to gain from defunding the police?” You’d probably get a wide variety of opinions. People haven’t coalesced around whether it should be spent on K-12 or housing or what it is. But I do believe that’s on people’s minds. And I do think that’s sort of implicit – though I can understand from the perspective of the police – why it might feel like why are you only talking about us — as though we’re all the good and all the bad that society could be? There’s a lot more going on here. I think that’s right. And I believe it’s probably something that the movement should look to improve about its messaging.

RH: I asked it because I often feel like I hear disconnected conversations. So what are the conversations that happen in close police circles, and what are conversations when the police aren’t there, right? One of the common things that I hear among police – and I think it’s less defensive than it’s likely going to sound from talking to police leaders and others – is that folks are let out of mental institutions with no backup, and ultimately, fall on the police. Schools are failing in many communities, and fundamentally, the police are called in to assist.

These are super problematic, deep issues. And the police very often say, “Well, we’re doing what we can, but we need help from others.” Oddly, I think there’s agreement in many places, but there are different conversations. Of course, it gets harder when they say, “I want to take it out of your budget.”

Moving on with the idea here, I’d like you to give some grades. What do you think the police are doing really well – or have done well, let’s say, over the last 20 years – and where would you say they’re falling down? What does that look like to you, John?

JR: Wow, no one’s ever asked me this question before. First, I think that it’s just essential to acknowledge the variation; there are all sorts of different law enforcement agencies out there. Some are making really serious efforts to improve, and some are not for whatever reasons — lack of will, lack of resources, lack of personnel, whatever it is. Relating back to something you said earlier, I do think the police have become more professional over time. And I think that has had a lot of advantages . . . it’s gotten rid of some of the police corruption that we saw in earlier decades.

But I think some would say that it has had the downside of being accompanied by a sort of almost military-type mindset, chain of command. And there’s a lot to be said for chain of command. The fear is that it makes people feel too much like they’re in the military – and when we civilians see police – it’s almost like seeing a soldier. I don’t know that that’s the way we want to go about things. I think it does feel like the police don’t have the trust of a lot of poorer, marginalized communities – especially communities of color – and I think that’s a problem.

I think that’s a problem for relations. It’s a problem for sentiment. It’s also, frankly, a problem for fighting crime. The clearance rates in some big cities of homicides are awful — and they’re more awful when victims are black or Hispanic. And, of course, there’s multiple causes here. Some of it may be attributed to not taking black lives seriously enough, but another reason might be that you’re not getting a lot of cooperation from people in the community because there’s not a relationship of trust there. And so, I think that it really harms both sides.

I have appreciated the willingness of at least some police departments to collect better data, think more carefully about data, try to learn from data and recognize patterns. Sometimes this is about fighting crime better – understanding predictive policing and things like that – but at other times it’s really about fighting police misconduct better or identifying patterns of bad behavior.

RH: We at Benchmark are not going to disagree with that, John.

JR: Yes, exactly. And I think there’s a lot more to be done in this direction, but better data will allow everyone to understand this institution better. This includes the police, the public, the academics who study it, and the people who work in the space — I think that it’s going to help everyone. And, I believe that the police have been going in the right direction . . . but it needs to go faster, and it needs to become more widespread.

RH: For sure. As someone who’s been in the profession and out of the profession supporting the profession, I feel like there’s been a lot of well-meaning police reform — but there’s so much ahead of us, right? There’s so much to do.

You know John, from a historical context one of the things that – again from conversations that I get to have with police chiefs and others – I don’t often share the fact that, in this moment, there is an airing of historical racial wrongs that come with this, which means it’s not just about fixing the moment.

It’s also about an acknowledgment — where you have generational stories; there’s a story of someone’s great-grandfather and grandfather and father who were mistreated by the police. And it was deeply racial . . . and it was wrong. Now, there’s never been a moment to grieve or a time of sharing the grief. All of a sudden, there’s this profound societal opportunity that’s opened to us — where all of these grievances that have lived there forever – and didn’t have a broader audience – now have an audience. And people are finally paying attention.

To me, that’s at least a piece of it — this generational rage that never got to be spoken outside of the communities that were most impacted. And that brings a huge challenge to police and police leaders, because not only do they have to show good faith efforts, but they need to show that they are systemically changing their institutions. Because even if you win the trust for the moment, the institution is not trusted — so it doesn’t allow for a lot of missteps.

Given that, what does it look like historically from your perspective? You mentioned that you took a look following the incidents in the summer of 2014,

and noted the search increases in Google Trends. Headlines and stories all skyrocketed as it related to police misconduct — and since then, it’s not increased. That is, the actual activity is flat. What does it look like historically to today? Overall, if you were to look at the ’70s, the ’80s, the ’90s, even further back, is there any good data to tell us that story?

JR: There’s not. We have really very little idea of how many people were, say, killed by the police annually before maybe 2013. There were datasets: the FBI had a dataset and the CDC had a dataset — but basically, everyone who’s ever looked at them has concluded that they’re grossly incomplete. The first time we ever had anything close to comprehensive data was actually in 2013. And that was put together by activists.

Then there’ve been some newspapers, the Washington Post has a database as well. But it’s actually very hard to say what the trend has been over a longer period of time — to the extent that I’m uncomfortable even speculating.

RH: It’s really interesting because you would think something as societally important as the number of people who are shot by the police would be recorded. From my historical perspective, and from what I know, it’s not been a huge number . . . but not being able to provide a trend line in 2020, over the last 20 years, is kind of remarkable.

John, I want to finish up on the same issue of data. We’re very grateful that you chair the National Police Early Intervention and Outcome Research Consortium that’s partnered with Benchmark.

You guys are an independent research consortium who operate independently, but we’re in a lucky position being able to share anonymized data with you, in order to help you ask interesting research questions and make all of us smarter. Can you talk a little bit about the consortium and what you hope to accomplish with it — along with the kinds of questions that you ultimately think the data will be able to tell us?

JR: Yes. Well, I’m grateful to be in this position. I’m excited to get my hands into the data and start working. We have a great group of people working with this consortium — criminologists, sociologists, economists, law professors. I think the overarching question that everyone wants to answer is, how do we reduce this problem? How do we make it so that people don’t need to be out on the streets? How do we have it work so that fewer people are hurt or killed by the police? I think it’ll make the police happier — and I think it’ll make the public happier. How do we do this?

I think the way I conceive the research path is it consists of two directions; what we would call basic science and applied science. Sometimes we’re still going to be studying what seem like very basic questions — what are the career trajectories of successful officers, and the path of officers who end up getting fired?  Likewise, learn more about the circumstances under which officers use force, and possibly, whether there are particular patterns of escalation that we can see in large-scale data that might help us point the way towards solutions.

Furthermore, how do officers behave under different kinds of circumstances — whether it’s the number of hours they’re working in a week, or the weather, or all sorts of other considerations like that? Those are basic science questions. They’re not going to be something that you can immediately cash out as a tool to improve police behavior. But nevertheless, advancing our understanding of police behavior is always going to take us in that direction.

And then I think there are the applied questions — and I think it’s a chance to try to learn more about interventions. Obviously, one of the things Benchmark does with its software is predict – with a greater accuracy than prior tools – what officers are at the highest risk of having an adverse incident. What we don’t know enough about yet is what to do then? I think there’s a sense of actions like recommend retraining, or counseling of some sort. But I think those are somewhat empty concepts. We actually know very little about what kinds of trainings work and don’t work — and what kinds of interventions, that might be very different from retraining somebody, that might actually work more effectively to help prevent the problem.

Maybe an early intervention system and red flag is the sign that you need a day off — you’re fatigued, you’re stressed, you’re worn out, or maybe you need a new setting, right? Maybe it’s not always about retraining. And then can we tell the difference between officers who maybe do need some counseling or training, and the ones who just need a change of scenery or a break? These are the questions that, I think, this unique source of data will hopefully allow us to get traction on.

RH: For sure. The answer to that critical intervention question; how do you support officers to be better at the craft of policing? What’s interesting, having been in the education world and coming back to policing, is that in education for K-12 specifically, there’s just a huge amount of research around what professional development is effective — in terms of the quantity, the type, the application . . . even how does professional development impact student achievement. Research has really helped provide a guide of how teachers can just become better teachers. In policing, as important a profession as it is and critically important to society, there’s nothing.

You can’t find any evidence-based research to say, “Wow, these types of interventions help the police to be better police, right? It makes them better at their job.” We’ve given the police very difficult challenges, but yet haven’t pulled in the support or just the humanity to help them be great cops, the kinds of police that society is yearning for — gifted at de-escalation and interact in a way that’s trusted and well-received. By the way, I’ve worked with tons of cops who do that incredibly well every single day. The goal is for the ones who don’t do it so well, how do we help them be as effective as the others?

With that, John, I am grateful for your participation in our 2020 IACP Leadership Series. Thank you so much — we’re all looking forward to learning more about the work your consortium is conducting.

This interview from October 2020 has been edited for clarity.

The following is part 1 of 2 in our IACP Leadership Series conversation between Benchmark CEO Ron Huberman and John Rappaport, Professor of Law, Ludwig and Hilde Wolf Research Scholar, University of Chicago. In this entry, Mr. Rappaport discusses the evolving role of insurance in police reform.

He also shares his thoughts on this important moment in time, which has created such an outcry for reform, as well as different perspectives on funding options proposed to help balance a variety of societal needs.

RH: We’re really excited to have John Rappaport take part in our leadership series. John comes to us as a professor from the University of Chicago Law School. And we’re pleased to report that he chairs a research consortium associated with Benchmark, known as the National Police Early Intervention and Outcome Research Consortium — a group focused on a variety of compelling, contemporary issues in the policing world.

John, you’ve written a ton of really interesting pieces on the role of insurance and police reform. When I first heard about that I was like that seems a little odd to me. It was insurance, right? Can you tell us a little bit about the insurance landscape — and why you see that, or what the research has shown that to be, in terms of a driver for police reform?

JR: Sure. I think it may be more appropriate to characterize it as a potential driver of police reform. It’s an important lever. I think the insurance companies are an important player in this arena, and they can play in one direction or they can play in another . . . or they can play very, very passively. Basically, I think a lot of people haven’t known about this for very long because we tend to focus on our conversations about policing on the same few cities over and over. We’re always talking about New York, Chicago, where we both live, or LA.

And these big cities – along with a handful of the biggest of cities in any given state – are usually self-insured, which is a fancy way of saying they’re mostly not insured. Or, they maybe have some kind of excess insurance that kicks in when there’s a really, really serious and costly incident. But for the most part, they’re paying the judgments and settlements for any police-related liability out of the city’s budget.

Most law enforcement agencies in this country – there are 18,000 of them – most of them are not in places like Chicago, New York or LA. They’re in much smaller places where they don’t have the tax base that big cities have . . . and if they get hit with a million-dollar or two- million-dollar settlement — that is an enormous deal for them. They don’t have that kind of excess money lying around, so they go out in the market and they buy insurance. And what happens then is that you’ve got an insurance company that is promising to pay out any money that this city might owe in the future in a judgement or settlement for some police liability-related issue.

And so, the insurance company doesn’t really want to pay out. It’s in the insurance company’s interest to reduce the amount of payouts. Just like your property insurer wants you to install sprinklers and have fire extinguishers because they don’t want to pay out. If there is a fire, they want to keep it small. It’s the same kind of relationship. So, insurance companies find themselves in a place where they have a financial incentive to try to reduce police misconduct. They do this through various kinds of loss prevention. Just as in the property context where they might recommend sprinklers and fire extinguishers, insurers in the policing context will recommend certain kinds of training, certain equipment, certain policies about use of force — and things like that.

RH: But today my understanding is that it’s not commonplace, but it’s a potential. What are your thoughts, John?

JR: Well, I think it’s actually fairly common. In some of my work I’ve written about some extreme examples where insurers have said, “We’ve really had it.” This may be a tiny department – let’s say four officers – and there’s one guy who gets sued 10 times a year, and at some point, the insurer says, “We’ve had it. You get rid of this guy or we’re not going to cover you anymore.” I have found some examples like that. Those I think are the exception.

But I think that some are more mundane, but still very important types of loss prevention that I mentioned — like weighing in on policies and education on legal developments. For a lot of small departments, they don’t have a legal staff, they don’t have a city attorney with a lot of extra bandwidth. So, staying abreast of the latest developments in Fourth Amendment law, let’s say, is really challenging. The insurers play a role in that and in doing online education or classroom education.

They play a role sometimes in subsidizing expensive kinds of training — like there are these prequel virtual reality simulators that you can use to train officers on how to resolve difficult situations without using force; but they’re really, really expensive. And so sometimes an insurer – basically using pooled money from lots of different departments – can buy one and make it available to all the departments.

So, I think things like that are happening right now, but there’s a lot of variation.

The reason I started by saying this is the story about the potential for reform is that there’s a lot of variation among insurers. And the insurers don’t necessarily feel completely comfortable thinking of themselves this way. They think of themselves as partners – here to support the agencies and help them
do their jobs better – but not here to tell them what to do.

That said, I think depending on who you ask – and what their motives are – they might characterize what’s going on a little bit differently.

RH: Understood. Super interesting and I think it’s going to change. You talked about police reform. And, and you know, we’ve had many chapters of police reform. There was the professional model. Then there was problem-oriented policing, followed by community policing. Compstat was in the middle of community policing as well, which had a big impact on crime. I’ll give you a minute warning here, before asking you about what the next chapter of police reform might look like?

Let’s back up, first. Because I think back in March, when the pandemic first hit, to say that we are going to have broad civil unrest associated primarily with police reform — I certainly wasn’t predicting it, and I’m not sure a lot of other people were. Can you give us a sense of what changed; what was it about the George Floyd event . . . or the pandemic . . . or this moment in American history that caused this outcry?

JR: It’s a good question. I have to say as a responsible academic that these things always have multiple causes. Just as crime rates have multiple causes. Things like social movements, and why this moment rather than that moment — there’s always a lot of different causes. And I can’t claim to know . . . but let me give you my take. I’ve done some research that suggests that things really changed in the public’s eyes in the summer of 2014, when Michael Brown and Eric Garner were killed. You can just look at objective data sources like Google Trends, and look at how often people search in Google for the words “police brutality” or “police misconduct”. Before the summer of 2014, it was basically flat and then it spikes up after these events.

Also, press coverage about police misconduct and police brutality also spikes up in the summer of 2014 if you just count the number of stories using these terms. In some of my research, I actually say – and this was written before George Floyd was killed – what’s going on in policing? It seems like everyone is so worked up about policing, everyone is talking about policing. Are the police sort of spiraling out of control, or is it actually reflective of a change in public attitudes?

My co-author and I, we looked at all the evidence we had – using insurance claims data, actually – and we found really no evidence that the police were getting any worse, or behaving any worse. You can also just see this in some sort of topline measures of number of people killed by the police per year. Not saying it’s low enough, but it hasn’t been getting higher. It’s basically been flat, yet it feels in the air like things are really changing, right? And I think that’s reflective of changing public attitudes. So, I think that the public is becoming increasingly sensitized to policing issues since 2014.

The movement has been growing, but clearly what happened with George Floyd was a tipping point. I think sometimes the simplest explanation is the best. That video is really, really harrowing to watch. Whatever happened with Michael Brown is not on video. And I think the video of Eric Garner being killed shook a lot of people, but there you can see some struggle — and different people can look at it in different ways. I have my view about it, but I understand that people watch the video and see different things. It was pretty hard in my opinion to watch the George Floyd video and not be disturbed by that.

And you put the COVID-related shutdown on top of that — when people are feeling on edge, they’re irritable. They’re also upset with the presidential administration. I think it just exploded. But I think that it’s really the culmination of years and years in the making. So, it’s just the right set of conditions . . . and the right match dropped into the fuel. From my perspective, that’s the explosion that we’ve seen.

RH: John, you said something that I really firmly believe in. It’s been a long time since I’ve been a police officer on the street. I was policing the streets of Chicago in the mid-’90s. And if I look at what I see as police conduct today versus then and early 2000’s, I think it’s actually much better. And it seems to me one of the big changes is video. It’s one thing to hear about an incident. It’s another to see that visceral humanity of when you actually see police conduct like in the George Floyd incident versus it being read in the paper . . . or it’s just reported as an allegation.

I think video in our society is consumed all the time, distributed in every way.

And it’s just been a big game-changer. So given that, I think everyone agrees that we are at a really important moment of police change. There are calls to re-imagine the police, there are calls to defund the police. There are tons of lessons learned through the last few cycles of police reform. What does this next chapter look like to you, John? What do you think needs to happen, and what do you think might happen? 

JR: From where I see it, and of course I’m informed not only by what we’re seeing in the news but what I’m also reading among policing academics, I actually see something of a split. I think a huge part of what I’ll call the movement – where I’m lumping in academics, people actually protesting out on the streets, and just concerned citizens – is the desire to push things in what you might call a democratizing direction where the idea is: we need to give more power to marginalized communities. We need to let people have more say in how they’re policed, and how much they’re policed.

We should have more civilian oversight. We should have community control. These are all terms that are a little bit vague. They’re old terms that have been given new meaning. They’re still a little bit vague, I think, but the general idea is to empower people; especially empower people in communities that feel over policed, that feel like they’ve been disproportionately and unfairly the victims of bad police behavior. Give the power to them, let them decide what kind of policing they want and need.

I think a different path, and not necessarily contradictory, is more technocratic.

It’s more about continuing with the trend of professionalizing the police. We’ve made some progress, but not far enough. We need better people, better-educated people. Police need to be trained better. We need better monitoring of them — body cams are part of this. And I don’t think these two things are in opposition, but I do think they represent two different mindsets.

I believe we’re seeing a little bit of a struggle here between them. Often the people in the first camp – the democratizing camp – they kind of look at the second camp and think you guys just want to make these incremental little changes . . . and it’s not really going to do any good. Then the people in the second camp look at the people in the first camp and think you basically want to overthrow the government — and even if I agreed with you, it’s never going to happen. So, let’s try to make things better and focus on harm reduction; you have these two opposing philosophies, even if the solutions don’t necessarily need to be in opposition.

RH: I hear you, John. What do you think of the defund the police part of this equation? There’s a recent Bloomberg story on it, which says it’s not really real. There are a few examples of it that appear very real, right? What do you think that looks like in this next chapter? 

JR: I think that it’s really important if you ever want to have a conversation about defunding the police to clarify your terms at the beginning, because you could be talking about two entirely different things. You can get in a fight with somebody because you have different definitions in your head. So, when some people hear defund, they think it literally means take all the money away from the police —

it’s basically the same as abolishing the police. And they think this is both a horrible idea and really unrealistic. To them, the people who are talking about defunding the police must be crazy.

I think there’s a much more modest way to think about defunding the police, but to me it feels a little bit like common sense. And that is to say, “Look, we tend to have ­– in many respects – a small government compared to some of our Western European counterparts. We don’t have the robust kinds of social services that we see in some other countries. Instead, we have this police department — and we ask them to do all kinds of different things.

RH: We ask them to do everything on some levels.

JR: Yeah, like people who are struggling with mental illness, people who

don’t have housing and have domestic disputes, All sorts of different things; noise complaints, parking violations, getting cats out of trees — all this stuff. And I think one way to look at the defund campaign is just to say that a lot of this stuff doesn’t need to be done by police officers. It doesn’t need to be done, frankly, by people wearing intimidating-looking uniforms and carrying firearms. If you’re carrying a firearm, there’s at least a chance you’re going to use it.

We’d feel better if some of these jobs were done by other people who could do them as well or – in some cases we think – better than police officers, because they have more training related to dealing with people who have mental health issues, right? So, let’s try to trim off some of the fat, they would say, and let’s redistribute those dollars to agencies like the Department of Mental Health Services and hire more social workers, more nurses. Let’s make those professionals the frontline people who go out when there’s somebody who’s having a psychotic break — or something of that nature.

I think that’s a very moderate way of looking at defunding. It’s one that I don’t find too hard to get behind, even if I’m skeptical about some of the more extreme approaches. But still, I think there’s a lot we don’t know.

RH: I think theoretically, it sounds great. If you have someone who’s a trained mental health professional . . . police are trained at de-escalation, but fundamentally they will never have the training that someone who’s made that their life work. If there are lessons that have come from prior police reform to me, it’s that when we dehumanize police they become warriors. And what would make them a warrior? I would say they become warriors if they’re only needed when their gun is needed.

It seems exactly opposite of what we were trying to accomplish with community policing — which is to become embedded in the community, to become trusted. And if we take police out of the day to day because there are other people who might do it better or differently, then the police are left to be the folks who deal with violent, hardened criminals. That, to me, is a scary place to be because I think ultimately there’s mission creep, right?

The idea that at 2:00 AM when someone calls 911 because they’re scared of another person – whether that person has a mental illness or has ill intent as a criminal – whatever that might be, it’s real-time. It doesn’t allow itself time to figure out who’s the best resource to show up — and it will always, I think, ultimately fall on the police.

So, it’s the right debate to have. That said, a caution I would bring up as we’re having a dialogue about this is the idea of ‘how do we keep the police as humanized as possible in a very hard job?’

JR: I agree with a lot of what you just said, and I think it’s a really good point that if you say police are reserved for combat situations, then in fact, that might actually reinforce the warrior mindset. But I think one response to that might be that if the police spend less time responding to some of the calls they respond to today – cats in trees, noise complaints, low-level traffic incidents, ticketing – that they might actually be freed up to spend more time getting to know people in the community. It’s not that they’ll necessarily be invisible the rest of the time — it could be more about interacting in different ways.

RH: For sure. I love the debate, John. And I think it will be interesting to see where cities land on this one.

Don’t miss Part 2 in our post, The Call for Research-Based, Data-Driven Police Support, where Mr. Rappaport shares his thoughts on where policing fits in dealing with today’s broad societal issues and needs. He also weighs in on the growing importance of data collection and in-depth research to drive and direct applied science for developing more effective reform and police support measures.

This interview from October 2020 has been edited for clarity.

The following is part 2 of 2 in our IACP Leadership Series conversation between Benchmark CEO Ron Huberman and Maggie Goodrich, Consultant, University of Chicago Crime Lab and on the Baltimore, Cleveland and Newark Police Department Federal Monitorships. In this entry, Ms. Goodrich discusses her experience and imperatives in developing and implementing first-class early warning and intervention systems— as well as her belief in the importance of having wellness-focused, non-disciplinary support in place to be truly effective.

Welcome back to our leadership series, Maggie. To start, you were super instrumental, serving as an advisor for the University of Chicago Crime Lab, on the recently announced early warning system for the Chicago Police.

When you were working on that, or when you do your work as a monitor, what do you look for? What are the data sets that you say, “Look, here’s ground stakes for a good early warning system”? What things have you learned from the crime lab work that you think would be interesting for folks to think about — or what they might want to include in a personnel management/early warning system that they might be looking at?

MG: I think there are a few fundamental data sets that are a must-have for any early monitoring system. The basics of HR, obviously. Understanding who the employees are and the chain of command I think is important as well — who works for whom. Then, from there, it’s really thinking through all of the data that’s collected on a daily basis . . . maybe currently not in an automated fashion. In many departments, some data is still collected on paper.

To be able to get to a situation where you’re going to implement an early intervention system, you really have to get to a place where all of this data is collected electronically. For example, information on complaint investigations, use of force investigations, and police pursuits. Lawsuits are often asked about, and sometimes hard to get ahold of information mainly because they’re not always handled by the police department itself. So, having a good working relationship with a city or county entity that handles that aspect of data is important.

And then in terms of just implementing an early intervention system, I would say the other piece that often comes last in many implementations, I believe you really need to think about first — and foremost. I think Chicago PD did a really good job of this, in that they actually started at the end so to speak. By that I mean even if you have a very accurate early intervention system that can identify who needs support now – which officers need additional training or support or mental health services or whatever it may be that’s unique to the officer – an agency needs a menu of interventions to support officers in place.

If you don’t have a robust employee assistance program, mental health services and in-service training options to offer, then the system can really only be as good as what you have to offer when you identify somebody who needs support.

RH: Yes, that makes so much sense. It always strikes me that these things need to be concurrent. While you’re implementing and figuring out how the technology is going to work, you can concurrently figure out all the policy needs together.

MG: Absolutely. I think many agencies are thinking first and foremost about consent decree compliance, which is important. Often the consent decree says, “You need to have a system to do these things,” but often the consent decree doesn’t necessarily spell out the officer wellness and support portion in as much detail as it does the early identification portion. I think doing these two things in parallel is really important.

RH: Agree. It always strikes me that well beyond the handful of departments across our nation that are currently under consent decrees – and we’ll see what happens in the future – it’s such a basic, modern tool, in this current era of police reform is to understand your workforce and intervene to support them any way that you can just seems like a 101.

MG: Absolutely. Especially because of the limited resources that agencies have. Even if you develop a new training program that is groundbreaking and really going to help your police force tomorrow, you can’t get the whole department through your training that quickly. And in many departments, you can’t get the whole department through that training even in a few months because of the logistics involved in many instances. So, how do you decide who should get it now and who’s okay to get it maybe six months from now?

And so, how do you just apply those limited resources to your personnel in a way that’s going to benefit those who need it most today? I think an early intervention system is often talked about in such a negative light — viewed as a system that’s penalty-driven or disciplinary in nature. And really, a true early intervention system is not about discipline at all. It’s about getting resources and additional support and training or whatever it may be that an officer needs to meet their unique situation. How do you get that to them as soon as possible in light of the limited resources you have as an agency?

RH: Yes, that’s right. I think what I’m hoping for in this next chapter of police reform is that the systems that support the police to be better at their jobs are funded. Then to your point, in the budget cuts that are occurring because of COVID – and in certain cities the defund movement – we need to actually work to elevate the profession. And we do this by investing in the systems that support and help the police to be better at what they do — and consistent with how the community wants it.

MG: Just on that point, I really couldn’t agree more with you. That you talk about defunding, or even just having to cut the budget, because of tight financial times. Generally, you have to look at where you’re spending today and where you’re going to cut that funding; because all too often just an across-the-board five percent budget cut means that technology and equipment go first. Those are the line items that can be reduced more quickly — rather than salary costs, for example.

You really do a disservice to a department by not giving them the tools and technology they need to do a better job . . . the things that are the driving factors behind change in a police department, right. Focusing on transparency, focusing on accountability — all of these things can be supported and delivered to the community in a way that is really meaningful by the use of technology.

RH: Yes, and there are shining examples of it. I think in cities where the infrastructure has been invested, the people systems have been invested, and the people have been invested. Training is expensive, right. And we’ve seen those departments that have invested elevate. We’ve seen them be more effective. We’ve seen them have more trust with the community. We’ll see what happens. I’m an optimist — so I hope that we’ll see that happen.

Maggie, I’ve got two final questions for you. First, who are your heroes out there when it comes to the world of policing? It’s very easy right now for the police to be attacked for a whole bunch of reasons. In this difficult time for everyone in law enforcement, particularly people who have done their job so admirably and respectfully, who are the folks that you turn to and say, “You know what, these are my heroes in the profession.”

The other person is a civilian who was in the police department working under Bill Bratton — partnering with him on consent decree implementation. And that’s Gerry Chaleff. Gerry was on the board of police commissioners that oversaw the police department at one time, who actually helped negotiate the consent decree.

­And Bill Bratton had the foresight to call Gerry and say, “Well, you got us into this consent decree, you helped negotiate it and write it — come implement it. You know what you wanted to see, so come do the job.”

Again, I think it took a lot of foresight to hire Gerry into that type of position, but Gerry came in with a vision of how to do things right, how to support a police force — and also serve the community properly. He’s somebody, honestly, I call probably weekly for advice and guidance.

RH: Fantastic. We need those people. And for those of you who didn’t see the interview or read our blog on it, we had the privilege to interview Bill as part of our IACP Leadership Series as well.

Maggie, you bring so much expertise to our profession from a completely different angle, right. You’re someone who has thought about reform, someone who’s worked in policy, someone who understands technology, and someone who’s been involved in police reform in departments throughout the country.

My final question is this: You started your company so that you can share that expertise and support for folks who need it — and agencies who do it. Can you tell us the name of the company, a little bit about your vision for it, and who else is involved?

MG: Sure. I recently started a company called TacLogix with a couple of colleagues who also are formally LAPD — and are in the consulting world today. One is Arif Alikhan, who was previously the director of constitutional policing and policy for LAPD. The other is Dan Gomez, who is a retired lieutenant from LAPD, who essentially served as my CTO while I was CIO for LAPD. The three of us have formed TacLogix to be available to police departments across the country, as well as tech companies that are serving police departments with their technology.

The idea is that we go into agencies, perform an assessment of the current state of technology — bringing a 360° perspective drawing upon my IT background, Dan’s very technical but boots-on-the-ground perspective, and Arif’s policy and risk management perspective. We don’t come in and just look at IT for IT sake. We come in and look at the whole picture. We look at your training, look at your policy, and look at how all of your IT is working together to help make your department run more efficiently and effectively.

MG: There are two people I turn to when I need guidance in the policing profession — one is sworn, or was sworn, and one is civilian. They both were really the drivers behind the implementation of the consent decree of the LAPD, and the profound change at the LAPD. First is Bill Bratton. He brought me into LAPD at a time, quite frankly, where back then it was really strange to bring in a 32-year-old attorney . . . deem her deputy chief . . .and put her in charge of the bureau: a police department of 10,000 sworn personnel. It was really unheard of. I think if it weren’t for his vision and drive for doing the right thing – and serving the community properly while supporting officers at the same time – I don’t know that LAPD would be the changed department it is today. That vision was really critical. And so, Bill Bratton is somebody I call on regularly for perspective.

The other person is a civilian who was in the police department working under Bill Bratton — partnering with him on consent decree implementation. And that’s Gerry Chaleff. Gerry was on the board of police commissioners that oversaw the police department at one time, who actually helped negotiate the consent decree.

­And Bill Bratton had the foresight to call Gerry and say, “Well, you got us into this consent decree, you helped negotiate it and write it — come implement it. You know what you wanted to see, so come do the job.

Again, I think it took a lot of foresight to hire Gerry into that type of position, but Gerry came in with a vision of how to do things right, how to support a police force — and also serve the community properly. He’s somebody, honestly, I call probably weekly for advice and guidance.

RH: Fantastic. We need those people. And for those of you who didn’t see the interview or read our blog on it, we had the privilege to interview Bill as part of our IACP Leadership Series as well.

Maggie, you bring so much expertise to our profession from a completely different angle, right. You’re someone who has thought about reform, someone who’s worked in policy, someone who understands technology, and someone who’s been involved in police reform in departments throughout the country.

My final question is this: You started your company so that you can share that expertise and support for folks who need it — and agencies who do it. Can you tell us the name of the company, a little bit about your vision for it, and who else is involved?

MG: Sure. I recently started a company called TacLogix with a couple of colleagues who also are formally LAPD — and are in the consulting world today. One is Arif Alikhan, who was previously the director of constitutional policing and policy for LAPD. The other is Dan Gomez, who is a retired lieutenant from LAPD, who essentially served as my CTO while I was CIO for LAPD. The three of us have formed TacLogix to be available to police departments across the country, as well as tech companies that are serving police departments with their technology.

The idea is that we go into agencies, perform an assessment of the current state of technology — bringing a 360° perspective drawing upon my IT background, Dan’s very technical but boots-on-the-ground perspective, and Arif’s policy and risk management perspective. We don’t come in and just look at IT for IT sake. We come in and look at the whole picture. We look at your training, look at your policy, and look at how all of your IT is working together to help make your department run more efficiently and effectively.

We look at what IT you have today that maybe you aren’t completely leveraging. . . maybe there are aspects of your IT that if they were integrated – or if they were just used in a slightly different manner – you might actually get more out of your current investments. Then also looking at recommendations for future investments in IT. We don’t recommend any particular products specifically, we really try to be product agnostic. The idea is to make recommendations on what areas of technology you should put on your roadmap — then help you develop that roadmap and strategy for the future.

RH: Fantastic. Well, I wish I could have hired you when I was on the other side of the fence in government, we certainly could have used that trifecta of right policy, deep technical expertise, and the sworn experience from some of your teammates. It sounds like a powerful group. Maggie, we are super grateful that you’ve joined us for the IACP 2020 Leadership Series. We’re grateful for your service to the profession. You’ve made a big difference — and continue to do so.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

The following is part 1 of 2 in our IACP Leadership Series conversation between Benchmark CEO Ron Huberman and Maggie Goodrich, Retired CIO of LAPD; Consultant, University of Chicago Crime Lab; and on the Baltimore, Cleveland and Newark Police Department Federal Monitorships. In this entry, Ms. Goodrich discusses the current state, issues, and growing importance of technology in policing — sharing key considerations for IT assessment, system upgrading, implementation, and integration with consent decree policies and guidelines.

RH: Maggie, you bring a unique expertise to our leadership series — serving as Chief Information Officer for the Los Angeles Police Department for seven of your 11 years there. You not only have a great perspective on what it takes to drive good police reform, but also on the current state of police reform technology. Let’s start with something simple: When you go into a police department as a consultant – which you’ve done a ton of times – and you are asked to assess their technology, what are the things you look for?

MG: First and foremost, I talk to the end-users to figure out what they’re really using — and how they’re using it. Sometimes, what IT understands and what the end-users are really doing with it are two different things. I think an organization that runs its IT well has a good communications loop between IT and the business. The other thing that’s really critical is just basic IT governance. And by that, what I mean is that IT is not setting the IT priorities — the business is driving the IT priorities.

Understanding what the goals and vision of police leadership really are, and ensuring that it’s those business goals that are really driving IT decisions, so that the IT is truly supporting those business goals – truly enabling them – and not just being implemented in a vacuum.

RH: Makes so much sense, Maggie. When you think about the current state of law enforcement technology – and I’m only going to focus on the people side of the equation – because I think a lot of people are up to speed on CAD/RMS systems. But when it comes to systems for managing their personnel, it’s a much bigger question for chiefs and others. Generally speaking, what do you think the current state is of people technology systems in public safety? What do you come across when you walk into the average police department?

MG: I would say that the average department is lacking a system to just manage its basic people HR functions — probably for a number of reasons. For one, policing is unique, so it’s often difficult to fit the policing personnel model into a standard HR solution. This is just because of the way officers are deployed, and the different types of things that need to be tracked that aren’t necessarily tracked in a traditional, private sector setting. We see a lot of agencies that have homegrown solutions, or maybe multiple solutions that they try to pull together to create an HR solution — and then they struggle to support that.

RH: I see the same thing myself when we work with agencies. It seems many departments are trying to make a lot of different tools solve the problem — versus trying to figure it out holistically.

Maggie, let’s take this observation and discuss the current state of police reform. I think a lot of cities and police agencies are trying to solve the problem on that front. Let’s look at it using the example of consent decrees that have either come into existence, or are currently being implemented. You were there for LA, and you were a big part of their success story. What do you think the DOJ is trying to achieve when they put such broad goals into these consent decrees — as it relates to personnel management and technology?

MG: I think the goal – or goals actually – of many consent decrees across the country are focused on ensuring that officers have the tools they need to be at 100% when they do their job. That is to have clear guidelines, clear training, clear policy — and, importantly, to know what they’re going to be held accountable for. I think in some departments, this area needs work; in the area of technology, in particular: Do the officers have the tools on their tool belt that they need to do their job professionally? So often, when it comes time for budget cuts, it’s technology and equipment and those types of things that go first.

Technology’s been a pretty strong component in many recent consent decrees, I think, because of the acknowledgement that officers need certain tools to do the job right. The cameras, for example, have been a big topic of discussion lately —along with early intervention systems. And those are things that aren’t necessarily funded first when it comes time to tighten the belt from a budget perspective.

Then obviously, the other goal under a consent decree is always to ensure that the community is being served as it should be — and treated equitably. I think these two things go hand in hand. And if officers don’t have the training, tools, policies, etc. to be in a position to serve the community effectively . . . then ultimately, it’s not just doing a disservice to those officers, it’s really a disservice to the community.

RH: It makes a ton of sense, Maggie. Let’s talk a little bit about IT in your experience. Where were you before the LAPD so folks know?

MG: Before the LAPD, I was a policy director in the mayor’s office in LA — and prior to that I was at a law firm. I’m a lawyer by background.

RH: Got it. You’re a lawyer who goes into policy, and then finds herself running the technology, right? I find your path really interesting, because you were such a successful CIO. So often, the technology leadership in policing struggles in a lot of ways. There are some phenomenal people, and there are some folks who just struggle with it. If you were a police chief tomorrow, and you were hiring your own CIO, what would you look for? How would you think about that? What do you have to say?

MG: Before I went to law school, I was a project manager in IT and software development. I had that in my background. I picked up IT fresh, I would say. But unfortunately, I think many departments force somebody to pick up IT fresh.

Often it’s a sworn employee who’s good with computers — someone who gets handed a lot of IT projects because a department may not have a CIO or head of IT. That’s a difficult position to put someone in. Most officers did not join the department to ultimately become the head of IT. I think that’s always challenging.

That said, I think there are definitely some success stories across the country of sworn personnel who have taken over IT and done it very successfully. I would say, generally speaking, that’s a difficult position to put someone in. In terms of selecting a CIO or head of IT, I think, a few things are really important. One is having vision for how IT can effectively support an organization . . . how it can be used as a force multiplier . . . and how it can really enable the overall goals of the department. I think really understanding that is very important.

Understanding true IT decision-making must be driven by the goals of the department, the business and policy — not wanting to implement IT just for IT’s sake. You must make it really critical. The other skillset that’s really important to have in IT is strong communication skills. A lot of my job as CIO was communicating. And sometimes, interpreting between the IT staff and the policy staff, the leadership in the police department, or elected officials in a city.

You really have to be able to speak in language understandable by the audience you’re addressing. So, you have to be able to go back and talk about business requirements in IT language to software developers. But then you also have to be able to go back to a police chief or city council and explain things in plain language, in non-technical speak. I think that’s a really critical skill to have as well.

Then, ultimately, you need basic management skills. I found many times at LAPD, while I was the CIO responsible for setting vision and the roadmap for IT, many days I was also a project manager on whatever our priority project was at the time — whether it was an early intervention system implementation or body camera deployment. There were some days where I was just sitting down and getting into the weeds while putting a plan together for how we’re going to implement something. I think you really have to be willing to wear multiple hats.

RHYou know I’ve always found, Maggie, that good leadership operates at 10,000 feet – and at times ­– has to operate at 1,000 feet. All good leaders are inherently project managers because they’re moving something along, right.

Maybe you can take us through the life cycle, a little bit, of technology as it relates to personnel management. Because at the time you helped build the LA system, there was nothing to buy. Meaning there was nothing you could purchase off the shelf that would have served your needs, right?

MG: Absolutely. At the time LAPD entered into the consent decree, there really weren’t any off-the-shelf products to help manage personnel, or help manage administrative type investigations. All of that really had to be built from scratch. There wasn’t an off-the-shelf software system that could even handle managing the chain of command of a 13,000-person organization. Let alone then be nuanced enough to track use of force investigations or personnel complaints investigations and the like.

The LA consent decree was executed in 2001. Back then, you really had to build your own because there wasn’t anything to buy. But I think we’ve seen a good evolution over time, there are now platforms that you can purchase. There are new, commercial, off-the-shelf software service platforms that will really enable a department to leverage some best practices that have been implemented into those systems. I think those like LA, who were early in the game, had to build it and learn as we went along.

RH: You were a visionary in the movement. You guys had to figure it out, right? You had consent decrees, you had dates — and you’re like, “All right, we’re going to go be a software development company.”

MG: Yes, I don’t know that it was visionary. I think it was out of necessity, actually. But yes, we’ve had to experience those growing pains ourselves — and we didn’t have a lot of lessons learned to pull from when it came to how to develop personnel management software. So now, I think agencies are in a better position to be able to leverage some of those best practices that are in off-the-shelf products.

RH: Yes, for sure. Of course, you know I think so, Maggie, because at Benchmark, it’s so much of what we do there as well. I love this idea of helping departments think through how to more effectively manage personnel in order to meet all of the reform requirements asked of them — and help them operate more effectively.

Don’t miss Part 2 in our post Early Intervention Systems in the New Age of Police Reform, where Ms. Goodrich discusses her experience and imperatives in developing and implementing first-class early warning and intervention systems — as well as her belief in the importance of having wellness-focused, non-disciplinary support in place to be truly effective.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

The following is part 1 of 2 in our IACP Leadership Series conversation between Benchmark CEO Ron Huberman and Thomas Eicher, Executive Director of the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability, New Jersey Office of the Attorney General. In this entry, Mr. Eicher shares his belief in the importance of police chiefs setting the appropriate tone, expectations and sense of professionalism with the officers in their department — including the novel concept of assigning a county prosecutor to work with every agency.

RH: Tom, we’ve been talking to other leaders in the field about a variety of topics related to police reform. Let me start by asking a really broad question: Do you feel, at this moment in police reform in American history, that this is different in terms of the historical reforms that have occurred in policing — is this a pivotal point in time, or is it just another chapter?

TE: I do think it’s pivotal, and I think it’s different because it’s more broad-based. The prior reforms that I’ve been involved with and seen have been in response to specific incidents, and they’ve been top-down. But this one is really from the bottom up. This is really broad-based, involving large segments of the country: young, old, black and white are all engaged — and all want to see a difference. In my discussions with police officers and chiefs, I think they get it. However, police can be defensive – and considering some of the things that are being said – I think police take issue with the criticism . . . and rightly so.

I believe everyone I’ve talked to understands that – right or wrong – police have to respond to the public sentiment, because without public support they’re not going to be able to do their jobs. I think it is a challenging time because I feel some of the rhetoric is really out there. But I think police have to understand that this is their opportunity to be part of that process because change is going to happen. One of the concerns that I have is that as well-meaning as it is, people from the outside who don’t have an in-depth understanding of law enforcement, or background in the field, can try to come up with simple solutions — but the issues are more complicated than that.

RH: I agree. And I certainly worry about some of the past reforms because at times, from my perspective, they have seemed to dehumanize the police. Meaning they have not taken into full account all the day-to-day “stuff” that enable police officers to engage in thoughtful ways. Tom, let’s say that you were to wake up tomorrow, you’re a police chief — and you were giving yourself advice from someone who’s accountable for public integrity in the state of New Jersey: what would be the top thing you would advise a police chief must get right?

TE: I think it’s really not one thing because everything interacts. One thing I would say is, the chief has to set the tone for the department. It’s not a policy, or a practice even, it’s really just that the tone of the department has to be set by the chief, along with the expectations. What I would also say is that police officers need to understand themselves as professionals. They’re there to serve the public — not get down in the fray with the people that are breaking a law, but rise above it.

Obviously, police have to use force at times, they have to use force to do their jobs, but chiefs should be expecting more of the officers under their command. How do you do that? I think you set the tone with it, you be clear about what your expectations are . . . you develop written policies that set forth those expectations, you provide the training to implement the policies, and then you hold people accountable. Not that you’re going to create a sacrificial lamb, but if you intercede early – before things go really off the rails – then you can avoid those really bad incidents.

I think setting the right tone, letting your officers know you appreciate them and you have their back . . . but you’re going to demand and expect a level of professional engagement. It’s little things; like in some of my work, I’ve noticed the officers who are quick to swear or confront a potentially dangerous person are also those who are slipping over the line at times. I think the right tone and approach is part of the professionalism. I believe it goes across the board that the message to the officers has to be — you don’t stoop down to the level of some of the persons who may have committed a crime, but you rise above it and you expect more of yourself. The appropriate tone from the top is really critical.

RH: I’m in total agreement when it comes to early intervention and getting in front of inappropriate behavior. Tom, let’s talk about your role a little and what you see as the role of the state. Certainly, from my perspective as an observer of police policy and reform, the state of New Jersey is in front – almost more than any other state that we’ve seen – as part of the attorney general’s excellence in policing initiative. Can you share the basic framework of that initiative, as well as the logic behind that framework? How did your team come up with it? I think it’s such a compelling story for the country in terms of what you’re doing in New Jersey.

TE: Sure. Not to make it too personal, but I was a federal prosecutor for over 30 years. One of the things I did as a federal prosecutor was investigate and prosecute civil rights violations, including those propagated by police. When the Attorney General asked me to come work with him, I said I would do it as long as I got to be involved in police reform. Because what I realized was trying to change the relationship between the police and the community through occasionally prosecuting a really bad apple, it’s not going to really create the kind of reform that I thought needed to happen.

I agreed to come and set up this unit and run it for the Attorney General — I didn’t have to convince him. He was completely on board and said, “Let’s look at the big picture and see what we need to do.” This was before George Floyd, since I got here in 2018 and worked through the end 2019, we put together a series of reforms. We were convinced – and I am as well today – that it’s not one thing. There’s no silver bullet. It’s a series of things.

What does that include? It includes a functioning Internal Affairs and IA disciplinary process. We issued some new guidance and got the county prosecutors involved. They’re typically called district attorneys in many jurisdictions — more involved in reviewing police departments and what the police departments are doing. It requires more collecting of data about various outcomes, so that the public and county prosecutors in our office can look at data collected and say, “Why is it that nobody’s ever held accountable for a civilian complaint? Why are none of your excessive force complaints ever found to be justified?”

That piece of it – improving the Internal Affairs process – is absolutely critical because you don’t want to wait until something really, really bad happens that requires you to look at a criminal prosecution. Therefore, we also looked at that as well. Every police shooting in New Jersey is investigated — and we have the luxury, unlike most states, that New Jersey’s Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer for the state and can issue directives and policies that apply to every law enforcement officer in the state. That’s a very robust power.

He’s also not elected . . .so that also gives him the freedom, as long as he has the support of the Governor, to institute policies without regard to the election blocks. We looked at that. It’s one of the things we did across the board: we investigate every fatal shooting and review every non-fatal police shooting in the state of New Jersey. Our office does that. It gives us an across-the-board look at what’s happening — it uncovers the circumstances under which things go off the rails and things go bad.

RH: What would you say are the pros and the cons of charging the county prosecutor with reviewing things such as a pattern of IA in a local jurisdiction? It’s certainly not a common model . . . where it’s outside of a specific incident. How are you finding that it’s working? Would you recommend other states consider it?

TE: Because of the COVID-19 crisis, although we issued the policy in December of 2019, it didn’t go into effect until August of this year. Then we had to train up all 21 county prosecutors in New Jersey, so it’s early in the implementation phase. So I can’t really tell you how well it’s working at this point — we have 550 individual police departments in New Jersey. For us, to try to monitor and audit on a large scale would be impossible. It’s even hard for the county prosecutors, some of whom have over 70 municipalities in their jurisdiction. We’ve asked them to at least take a look at it. The idea is if you know somebody’s looking over your shoulder, you’re going to be more likely to take it seriously for fear that you’re going to be called on the carpet.

One of the things we’re looking at doing in our new use of force policy is requiring that every chief sign off on an annual report to the prosecutor’s office about the use of force by their department and requiring them to analyze and sign off on every use of force at some level. By requiring that they focus on it, it hopefully will encourage that the chiefs realize this is important. There are a lot of important things, but this is very important. It’s got to be looked at.

I believe the IA process is challenging, in part, for some reasons that folks have noted recently in the news: that even if the chief imposes discipline, it’s then subject to arbitration as well as appeal to the courts. This process can undermine the certainty of the discipline. We need to find a balance that allows the chief to exercise reasonable discipline, subject to due process, but does so in a way that’s swifter and more predictable. Right now, I think that’s one of the gaps we have in our system.

RH: If I understand it right, you guys [New Jersey] are one of the only five states in the country who don’t have a decertification process today. Is that correct?

TE: That’s correct.

RH: Not saying it’s super effective, but that it is not a tool if someone hops around or if there are other problems. It’s not available as a tool today to try to get in front of some issues.

TE: That’s exactly right. We have a Police Training Commission that does the initial training of officers. One of the things that was part of the excellence in policing was to have them make a decision about whether they recommend a licensing. And earlier this summer, they did come out unanimously in favor of a licensing or certification regime that would involve decertification as well.

What that’s going to do is put a floor on the process, and allow a statewide look at setting minimum standards — not only to become a police officer. In the past, there has not been even psychological testing that was required before somebody could go to the police academy. With this change, minimum standards would be there, which is important.

It would also likely require continuing education and training, keeping up with use of force policies, along with other policies that the Attorney General issues.

It will create a mechanism to weed out the really bad apples. One of the things we did in the Internal Affairs reforms we put in place last December was to require every department that hires a police officer from another department to check the Internal Affairs records for that officer. Now, they’re not required to act on them. They could look at the records and say, “Gee, this person has five sustained uses of force, but I’m going to hire him anyway.” But that’s where the licensing comes in as a backstop if you see a pattern. Once it’s set up, it will enable a really robust licensing or certification regime.

RH: It sounds like we will all be watching how effective it is by having the county prosecutor play that new role, right? It could be a model for the nation. I’m sure we’ll learn the pros and cons to each piece of this reform, but sounds like you’re moving the ball forward.

Let me get a chance, Tom, to share some of those other reforms that you guys are doing at the state level?

TE: Sure. One of the things we’re doing is requiring that every use of force incident is reported in a statewide portal. Every time a police officer uses force in New Jersey, they’re required to fill out a detailed account through an online system. The report is then shared with the attorney general’s office, the chief of the officer’s department, and with the county prosecutor. We will have a system that’s tracking detailed information about all uses of force across the state.

We will learn when are they occurring…what are the circumstances under which they’re occurring? What’s the type of force used? Which force ends up resulting in injuries? What’s the resistance level that the force is being used against? These reports will provide a detailed picture that’s going to allow the chiefs to look at use of force among officers. Importantly, in larger departments, chiefs can look at trends that may not be apparent just from anecdotal review. It also allows the county prosecutors to look at those departments and say, “Why is it that these two similarly situated departments have wildly different amounts of force being used within their jurisdiction?”

All this tracking data will allow the county prosecutor to sit down with each chief and talk about what’s happening in their department: What are the reasons for use of force actions . . . there may be good reasons or there may not be. I think this process is really exciting — it’s going to lead to not only more effective reform, but by the same principle, if you know what you’re doing is going to be reported and reviewed, you’re going to be more careful about it. You’re going to be more thoughtful about actions taken.

Police officers, I hope, will always use force when it’s required and necessary for their protection and for the public’s protection. But I think they’ll be more judicious and conscious about it if they know they have to fill out a detailed report, and someone’s going to be looking at that report to see if it met the policies and procedures set forth by the department.

RH: Yes, that would be very consistent with the work that we’ve seen in the research across the country. Where we can’t speak to whether measurement changes behavior, we can certainly speak to the fact that what you described earlier rings true with national research — which is this confluence of what you brought up about . . . I’m going to call it ‘broken windows theory’. If it’s the officers who are swearing who may also be more likely to be involved in using force earlier than called for, our research shows that if you are struggling in one area, you’re going to be struggling in multiple areas — it’s usually not isolated.

Being able to look at use of force patterns could be part of understanding how all factors work together. It makes tons of sense and congratulations. You guys [New Jersey] are, from our research of all 50 states, the first state to not only require but actually have it executed statewide. Benchmark is lucky to be part of the story and we’re happy to be able to serve where we can.

Don’t miss Part 2 in our post Our Work in Progress and Reflections on Policing in the Past, where Mr. Eicher discusses new polices his state is implementing to improve transparency and accountability, moving toward a more effective, evidence-based early intervention system — as well as sharing his thoughts on various policing reforms over time and the need to look at the criminal justice system as a whole.

This interview from October 2020 has been edited for clarity.

The following is part 1 of 2 in our IACP Leadership Series conversation between Benchmark CEO Ron Huberman and Chuck Wexler, Executive Director of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). In this entry, Mr. Wexler shares his thoughts on the role of policing in addressing and adjusting to COVID-19, as well as the importance of building the right team reflective of values committed to honorable police practices.

RH: Chuck, we’re very grateful for the work that you do in policing. Let me start with a very broad question: Can you tell us a little bit about the current chapter of police reform? I don’t think back in February anyone would have predicted the impact of COVID-19 and certainly, I don’t think people would have predicted that police reform would have shot to the very top of what is on the minds of Americans and politicians in cities. What do you make of it?

CW: Well, I think it’s hard to talk about police reform outside of the context of COVID-19. I just think that you’ve had this combustible mixture from March to the period we’re in now in October. I think that’s important because we’re at an incredible point in American history – actually in world history. We wrote a publication back in 2007 on the pandemic and I thought when we were writing it, “Well, this will never happen.” We talked about quarantines…we talked about social distancing…the delivery of vaccines…the role of the police…what if people don’t want to social distance…what if people don’t want a quarantine…how to manage the economy, and all of those things.

Again, we wrote that back in 2007, almost 14 years ago. Then this thing hits and the police have been in the middle, insofar as being that response unit to all things that have happened as a result of the pandemic and the role that they’ve played in terms of social distancing; how they themselves have had to change during the pandemic, in terms of staffing…in terms of delivery of services…in terms of outsourcing things. Some departments have been devastated. Now, the NYPD has had 46 members of the department who have died, thousands who’ve gotten infected…while there are other departments around the country who have hardly been infected.

Then we’re into the second wave now. One of the things – and you would appreciate this – that’s so good about policing is the ability to adapt to any kind of emergency situation. You take the Yonkers Police Department and the police commissioner there — he realized in one of his areas of the city that his officers were getting infected…so he put them in one-officer cars.

People would say, “Why is that so significant?” Well, you have union agreements. You would never be able to put officers in one-response unit cars in any normal service. Everybody understood, like in New York and then Detroit, officers were infecting each other. Then in terms of dispatch and response, like in Detroit, you had

a dispatcher who got sick and actually, I believe, died. They had to close down the dispatch center and open up another just like that.

Policing was just getting into that groove — it’s almost like having a hurricane or 9/11 or Boston bomber situation, which is like a one-day thing. But what happens when that one-day event happens day after day after day. You have 12-hour shifts. And you have police command that are separated, like Dermot Shea, the police commissioner of New York and his first deputy — they’re never in the same room…they’re in different places. And you have mayors and police chiefs both getting it.

RH: If COVID had not occurred, what would have been the fallout from the George Floyd event, and how would that have impacted American policing versus how it actually did?

Chuck: That’s a really good question because COVID had this impact that people really don’t understand yet. Historians are going to look back at this period and try to figure out what was going on. Because you have this dynamic in which people are staying at home quarantining themselves, and we saw some crimes get lower, while other crimes increased. When the George Floyd incident happened, it was horrible. I mean, it was just devastating.

It reminded me to some degree of the Rodney King incident in terms of the visceral image of someone being beaten, or in this case, who subsequently died. But I wonder what happened when the demonstrations occurred across the country — they were demonstrations unlike anything we’ve seen since the ’60s, both in terms of the number, the degree, and so forth — I wonder if, to what degree the pandemic had on people in terms of getting out of their house, finally being outside expressing themselves…because I’ve also seen an increase in shootings and murders across the country.

I’ve been asking people about that, what impact does the pandemic have on relationships in terms of drug dealing, gang activity, and so forth? Some of that is about things that were happening to people, and that small things might lead to larger things very quickly. Gun sales went way up. So, I don’t know. What do you think?

RH: Chuck, it’s hard to say because I think that before George Floyd, there was a cumulative fatigue occurring in the public around police incidents. It was cumulative, Chuck, in my opinion, not because there has been any fundamental shift in policing, but because video cameras are so ubiquitous in every part of society, that events that historically would not have been that visceral video image, now are. I think much like you, Chuck, I think it’s hard to opine on or know the impact of COVID on the public outcry. But I think it’s very safe to say that long before George Floyd, there was a cumulative exhaustion happening, because the images of all police – and it goes to 800,000 police officers in the United States – and one event, ultimately reflected on everyone, over and over again, which is a complicated dynamic.

CW: I think that’s a really good point. I think that – and you know this because you were involved in Chicago at the time when I thought you were crazy when you installed all these cameras in Chicago ­– I thought, “Oh, my God, that will never work”. But it had a dramatic impact on people, neighborhoods, rather than people wanting them taken away and people thinking, “Oh, my God, big brother, this is surveillance.” They had exactly the opposite reaction. They actually felt safer walking around. I know you were really responsible for implementing that.

It’s interesting because we wrote the guidelines of body-worn cameras for the Justice Department. I remember writing the introduction to that, and basically saying that this is going to change things in ways we don’t know. When all these departments started adopting body-worn cameras, say five or six years ago around the time of Ferguson — what people thought was going to happen with body-worn cameras didn’t really happen. They thought body-worn cameras would prevent these incidents from happening. What body-worn cameras have done is actually captured footage and scenes that the American people don’t usually see. And you had all of these other cameras out there from citizens. What hasn’t changed, quite frankly, is the body-worn cameras haven’t changed how you handle some of these situations, they just record them. Now they may have changed or impacted other things – how you treat people – but at the end of the day, unless you change training and policy and culture, all you’re doing is recording it. It’s just a small footnote of how technology can sometimes have an impact but doesn’t always have the impact you expect.

RH: Yes, isn’t that true, Chuck? Let me ask you this, because you just touched on training and policy and culture. Chuck, you wake up tomorrow and you’re no longer the executive director of PERF, but you are a police chief of a major city. You’re putting your game plan together to figure out what would be your pathway. And, I would argue too, Chuck – and I think you’d likely agree – that whether it’s Chicago or Baltimore or New York or LA or Philadelphia…all of the large cities and midsize cities alike are struggling with the same issues of what we like to say is, restoring the honor of the badge, building back public trust and faith in the police. What would be some of the things that would be on the top of your list for your city, as a chief, to think about or implement to begin down that road?

Chuck: It’s a series of things in no particular order. I’m a big proponent, as I know you are, of Good to Great by Jim Collins. He’s someone I have a lot of respect for and I’ve done a lot of work with him. I think part of it is building your own team, getting the right people on the bus…the right people in the right seats. That management team is really important, how that is reflective of your values. When I look at situations police departments get into, I look at how that command staff communicates with each other. If something happens at two o’clock in the morning that’s a bad issue, how long does it take for that police chief to know what actually happened? In really well-run organizations, that can be very quick. In today’s society, communication is so important. You see police chiefs who handle these incidents really well.

In essence, the first part of the answer is, I want to get a command staff that is reflective of my values, which should be their values. Do they have – honesty, transparency, community sensitivity, responsiveness – all of those things. What’s going to be my relationship with the community? How am I going to manage that? Then look at the internal organization — so key indicators. Where do we stand on a whole set of factors? Where do we stand in terms of policy, high-risk situations? How are we going to handle that? What kind of organization, what kind of feedback loop do we have? If we screw up, how are we going to handle screw-ups? We know how to handle success. How do we handle failure?

RH: Let me challenge you on how to handle failure. I’m going to ask you to tell a story, Chuck, that you shared with me that has resonated with me almost more than any other police chief story that I’ve heard. It’s the idea of what do we do when we screw up? I would say, my opinion Chuck, is American policing has gotten dramatically better. We release tape, we call on the family, we get in front of it. We meet with community, we apologize. By the way, those are just dramatic shifts from even a year ago — the idea that a chief prior to a full investigation would say anything other than we need to let the investigation occur, is lost on the public. To those of us who’ve been deeply involved in policing, it’s a massive shift.

The story that I want to ask you about, Chuck, is a story related to not what you do when you mess up, but rather how do you try to limit the mess-ups before they occur? How do you get in front of that deeply problematic use of force event that will always look terrible on TV? When you and I had this conversation a year ago at IACP, we were sitting there in Chicago, not knowing about COVID-19, when you told me a story about John Timoney in Miami and what he did. Do you mind sharing that story of Chief Timoney and the dramatic impact he had on Miami?

CW: John Timoney is one of my heroes…a renaissance man who was also a street cop and very worldly. Any kind of use of force insights I have I owe to him to the greater degree. He came to the United States as an Irish immigrant with his brother. Basically, he worked his way up through the NYPD. He was there in that Camelot period of time when Bill Bratton became police commissioner in the early ’90s. He had a meteoric rise…he was like a one-star and he was made a four-star…a legendary person in the NYPD because he had the big picture. He was very smart. He was very well-regarded by his peers.

Bratton saw this in him and promoted him. He was a major part of the Bratton team. I would say he was one of the three or four key people. So, he does that, and then he becomes Philadelphia Police Commissioner, where he made some major changes. Then he comes to Miami, where he was also president of PERF. He and I really knew each other for 20 years. He’s really good at diagnosing issues. The one thing he understood better than anyone was use of force.

So, Miami had a major Justice Department investigation…a memorandum of agreement or consent decree, basically, because Miami had been involved in a pattern of use of force cases. But he had these good people around him and he had to identify how to deal with use of force.

He did a series of things. He changed the use of force policies, he brought many of the lessons from New York — don’t shoot at cars, firearms discharge review. Then he recognized that a number of officers were involved in a series of use of force incidents. He actually looked at that himself, and he identified the officers that had been involved in these use of force situations. He basically took them off the street and put them in places where they couldn’t cause harm.

In some ways, it was like he had this intuitive early warning system in which basically, using his good judgment, he looked into these situations: “Wait a second, look at these guys. They’ve been involved in a series.” He identified them and took them off the street. Then something unusual happened. Miami went 21 months without an officer-involved shooting. It was remarkable. He used to pride himself on that; he’d say, “Chuck, got another month, another month.” Importantly, crime went down, use of force off the charts. He then went back to the Justice Department and said, “Look what we’ve done.” They sent him a letter saying, “You are now in compliance.” It was really an amazing story.

RH: Chuck, right before he came, there had been a large number of officer-involved shootings.

CW: There had been a series of them. He inherited a department that had a series of abuse instances and the Justice Department investigated and he comes into that and on his own, he does it. But here is the postscript to this story: This is like an experiment, a real experiment. So, then he leaves…another police chief comes in, let’s call him the “un-Timoney”. He comes in, he takes those officers, puts them back on the street, and the shootings start to go way up and the Justice Department comes back. True story.

RH: Chuck, this is what so deeply resonated with me when you and I were meeting and you shared that story with me. What resonated is that that is exactly what Benchmark as a research organization does and sees — is that you have a small group of officers who are repetitively using dramatically higher levels of force more often. And ultimately, the argument that I make over and over again whenever I get the audience of Chiefs, is that it’s a noble thing and that everyone can be Timoney, in my opinion. Because if you do nothing else, but in a non-punitive, non-disciplinary way, find a better fit for those officers where we know they have a pattern of force that gets used over and over again, is just an easy button, if you will, to try to get in front of what are incredibly complicated incidents.

Timoney is now my hero as well. I was lucky enough when I was a young police officer in the Chicago Police to have met him. He was a legend back then and hearing him talk about the profession and about force was super compelling.

Don’t miss Part 2 of this conversation, where Mr. Wexler discusses generating new policies and procedures for desired outcomes and the need to invest in the future of policing.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

The following is part 2 of 2 in our IACP Leadership Series conversation between Benchmark CEO Ron Huberman and the legendary Chuck Ramsey, former Chief of Police, Washington, DC; former Police Commissioner of Philadelphia; and Co-Chair of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing. In this entry, Mr. Ramsey underscores the importance of knowing one’s community as well as the importance of creating a culture that reflects what is expected and will not be tolerated.

RH: Chuck, let’s say you wake up tomorrow, and you look around and you have a uniform on and you’re a chief again in a major city in America. I think certainly from my dialogue with chiefs across the country – and you talk to chiefs every day – it’s probably never been harder to be a police chief — but here you are. You got a large police force. You have all the challenges that every city has, whether it’s Chicago or Baltimore or Philly or DC or you name it. What do you do? How do you start to lead in the current environment? It might be the same playbook, but what is on your list of  ‘I have got to get these things right from the start’?

CR: First of all, let me just say that I think the tougher job than being a police chief in today’s environment is being a police officer in today’s environment. At least as a police chief, you have some way of influencing the current and the future. Whereas as a police officer, you’re at the whim of whatever it is that’s going on. I just want to just say that because it’s tough, very tough for the men and women that are out there trying to do the job the best they can. I think it starts with communication, both internal and external. I think it starts there.

I think it’s important to have those lines of communication with people, even those people whose opinion and whose views may be totally – in fact, it’s even more important – totally opposite from what you believe and what you feel. You have to at least try to establish lines of communication. Take a serious look at where you are and what it is that you’re doing as an agency, and you might need to have someone from the outside come in and take a critical look because when you’re a part of it, you’re so close to it, you don’t always see it. What are we doing? How are we managing our personnel? Do we really know what’s going on out there? Are we really stepping in?

Let’s take early intervention for an example. If an officer has a history of engaging in certain kind of misconduct…and it may not be use of force. Could be verbal. Could be anything, but it’s not consistent with policy. Do we know who they are? I’ve often said the good news is you can identify them; the bad news is you’ve identified them now you’ve got to do something with it. The key is, now that we know, what do we have in place to change the behavior of the individual? Because police agencies are primarily punishment-driven and giving a person three days off doesn’t necessarily change behavior. What is it that we’re going to do if that’s really the goal?

Early intervention, having an information system or personnel management system that will identify individuals at your earliest possible point…put in place those mechanisms to be able to intervene early on and say, ‘Hey, we just don’t do that’. Do it in a way in which it goes beyond just that one officer but the other officers too — because to me, real change in a police department isn’t going to come from whoever’s sitting on top or a software. It’s going to be when the culture of the organization itself will not tolerate certain behaviors that are out of the norm because that’s not what the agency stands for. It’s not what the culture stands for, but you have to use these tools to get you there. That’s the ultimate goal. That’s the kind of thing I’d be focused on right now.

Learn from those that have experience. Learn from Minneapolis. Learn from these other cities. Even back in the days when we were more concerned with terrorist attacks…if it occurred somewhere else, I would ask my people, ‘Okay, if that happened here, how would we handle it? What are our resources? What are our capabilities? What can we do? Do we actually know what we can do, and more importantly, what we’re incapable of doing’? You have to do that sort of thing. If that officer was a problem, how come they didn’t identify him? If he was a member of our department, would we have identified him? If we had identified him, what we would have done with him?

RH: The one thing that just struck me so much when I came back to Benchmark after running the Chicago Public School System…I spent an inordinate amount of time asking the question, “How do we make our teachers more effective?” We had some phenomenal talent, unbelievably great teachers. We had some teachers who struggled. Ultimately, the idea was never let’s be punitive…let’s go be disciplinary with the teachers who are struggling. The collective question of the organization was, ‘How do we invest in these teachers to become effective’? In the world of policing in the year 2020, in the history of humankind, if you were to say show me an evidence base of interventions that help police be better…that enabled them to do what is an incredibly hard job more effectively — it doesn’t exist. I’m excited to say, we’re trying in partnership with our academic partners and others to develop it, but we’ve got a long way to go in the profession in supporting the frontline in that way. These are super important things you’ve always talked about.

Regarding culture — something that I’ve heard you talk about over and over again with tremendous passion is the role of that frontline supervision…your street sergeants and others. Can you talk about what you did and what you would do as a chief to get that supervision? The command staff is easier. You’re not talking about 500 people. You’re talking about folks you can directly talk to. But when you start getting down to lieutenants and sergeants who are ultimately in charge for all practical purposes more than almost anyone else, how do you win over those ranks in terms of your vision, your values, where you want the culture to go?

CR: There are a couple things. You point out a critical rank in the department. That’s that first line supervisor. That’s that sergeant. Because I remember, when I was a young police officer, I cared more about who my sergeant was than I cared about who the district commander was because I had to deal with the sergeant every day. District commander was pretty much a picture on the wall. If I was unlucky, I’d be walking down the hall at the same time he was, and you turn your head so he didn’t pay any attention to you. We’ve got to invest in our people in terms of their training and education, and there’s just not enough of it.

Some departments have pre-service training, let’s say, for sergeants. They put them through all the things — your roles, your responsibilities, and so forth. Some go so far as to even have an FTO system for new sergeants where they match them up with veteran sergeants for a period of time to learn what’s going on. I think all those things are important, but there’s a basic flaw in the system of policing in our promotional system.

The only way you can make more money in the average police agency is through the promotional process, which means that you’ve got people who are smart enough to pass a multiple-choice exam, but they have no interest in leading others. They have no interest in supervising, but they need more money. How do you carve out those folks and have people that truly are committed to leadership, truly are committed to that? You mentioned that at the top it’s easier – maybe in some ways but in other ways not so much – because we don’t do anything in policing to develop the next generation of leaders, or at least not enough. We have 18,000 police departments. Do you honestly think you’ve got 18,000 good police chiefs and sheriffs? I know we don’t. Until we really address the issue of really grooming people and preparing them, not only for the current role that they’re going to be in but get them ready for the next step.

When I went to DC, and I’ve seen it in other agencies, they didn’t even have a good job description for any rank above police officer, entry-level. We had to create one for sergeant, create one for lieutenant, create one for captain. In the Washington DC police department, they did not have it. What was the knowledge, skills, and ability needed for this rank, assuming that you have all that when you make the new rank, but what’s different? What is it that you need? How do we prepare you in advance? Not wait until you get there and then find out you can’t handle it. Now we got to try to bury you somewhere. What do we do in order to try to prepare you? It’s complicated. It’s complex, but it’s fixable. It’s going to really take an effort to really get serious about leadership development in police agencies, and don’t wait until somebody makes sergeant. From the time a person comes in and you know this person has their eye on not staying at that level forever, what are we doing to enhance their abilities?

RH: One of the things I think we make very hard on ourselves is we let the lawyers have too much of a voice because ultimately, what has happened is promotional exams in too many places have been reduced to what you said, which is a multiple-choice exam. A multiple-choice exam doesn’t identify ethics. It doesn’t identify leadership. You can usually answer policy right. You might be able to answer situational awareness questions right, but test taking and leadership are two completely different pieces. If you don’t make sergeant, you’re not going to make chief.

One of the research projects that we have going on at Benchmark with our partners is this — because we have people’s performance data, how do they actually do as the police. Can they navigate with good de-escalation skills? Can they navigate where they have good activity? Do they navigate in a way where there is powerful community engagement and the like? Can we use that data where the baseline for promotion becomes your performance on the job where there’s never a promotional exam? Because we have everything we need to know who’s the leader today, and let’s use that information as a way to understand promotion versus a one-time high stakes exam that ultimately may or may not pay off for folks.

CR: The other thing, if I could just add one thing. Most systems are geared toward identifying people who aren’t doing things right as opposed to identifying people who are doing things right and then going back and digging a little deeper to find out what are those characteristics…what are those traits…what are those things about people who are able to successfully de-escalate situations? People who really show good leadership — what is it about them that distinguishes them from the person who’s one of our frequent fliers, who’s always into something that they got no business being in?

You could say some of this is recruitment and hiring and all that, but it’s more than that once you’re on the job, I think. I think if we focus more on that and at least make that a big part of the picture…because when you really stop and think about it, what would a good 21st-century police officer look like? What are those skills and abilities? What are those talents that they need to bring to the table? We need to be building that image, and I think if we did that and if we had a system that could actually help us do that, that would be absolutely remarkable.

RH: Here’s what I would tell you, Chuck. This is my thesis on it. I can tell you as a research organization – and for those who don’t know, we were born out of research done at the University of Chicago – is I would argue we know that today, meaning we have ways that we can assess what is the community’s perception, community engagement for someone. We know their activity level. We know how they use force. We know whether they get citizen complaints. We know if they’re effective depending on the job they’re in, if they’re effective preliminary investigators. We see it because we can baseline.

We know, here’s what the average officer does. Here’s what someone does, and if they do it in a way where folks don’t get hurt and they’re able to still be an effective police officer, there is a pathway to say we can find the best and brightest among us and find a way that we put them on a trajectory to great leadership. Because ultimately, I’m agreeing with you, Chuck, every time you said it. Today is Chuck Ramsey’s greatest hits that I’ve heard over many, many years of being someone who has followed you, is we can change the equation. Because, as you’ve said, those frontline supervisors, if we pick the right ones, every officer in their command is ultimately going to get to the right place because ultimately, it’s their watch. Everyone else is a picture on the wall.

CR: That opens the door for better education of police chiefs to know what that 21st-century cop should look like. What are the skills and abilities? Because that drives your recruiting…because if you know that, then that’s who you go after. If you look at many police departments, we say we want people who are community-oriented. We want people who have good de-escalation skills. We want diversity. We list all this stuff. Play the recruitment video of that same department. What are they showing? SWAT knocking down the door…helicopters…boats going down the river or lake. It’s all the Type A personality stuff. Who do you think you’re going to get to apply?

It’s not that you don’t need some people who can do that stuff because you do, but is that what an average police officer does on a regular basis? No. We have that information. We know it, but we got to share it and make sure that everybody is aware because that drives so much if we really want to change. Because who you hire today is who you’re stuck with for the next 30 years. You better make a good decision upfront because if all you’re relying on is being able to fire somebody or discipline him for the next 30 years, is that really what you want to do? I don’t think so.

RH: We are grateful for your service to our nation. We’re grateful for what you’ve done for policing. We’re certainly grateful for your role here at Benchmark. We appreciate your time and your ability to share all that great expertise and experience you built over all those years. Thank you, Chuck.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

The following is part 1 of 2 in our IACP Leadership Series conversation between Benchmark CEO Ron Huberman and the legendary Chuck Ramsey, former Chief of Police, Washington, DC; former Police Commissioner of Philadelphia; and Co-Chair of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing. In this entry, Mr. Ramsey expands on his belief in a holistic approach to police training, education, management and accountability…and stresses the need for officers having an understanding of the history of policing in America.

RH: Chuck, it’s 2020. We’re in a global pandemic. Back in March, I think folks would’ve said, ‘Wait, there’s going to be a global pandemic? I’m finding that hard to believe.’ But once they would wrap their head around that…I think if we would have told them that ultimately we would have a summer of civil unrest, and it would be tied to police misconduct in terms of the perception of police misconduct, the perception of brutality. What happened? What in your perspective, Chuck, made this moment or this summer what it was?

CR: There were a series of very high-profile events that took place, captured on video. George Floyd obviously is one, but there were several others as well that really put police use of force on trial. We live in a world now where we are so connected that it doesn’t matter where something occurs. We saw that really with Ferguson and Michael Brown. It affects us all across the country.

And so, an event can happen, let’s say, in Ferguson, Missouri or Minneapolis, Minnesota…you could be in Austin, Texas, you’re going to have fallout from it. You’re going to have something happen in terms of demonstrations or what have you because people get upset and understandably so. No question about it. Which really makes the need for police leaders to be more proactive in terms of having a holistic approach in dealing with management and early intervention — and to do it in a way that really saves time, saves resources…and understanding that that’s not only a benefit to you as a police chief, it’s a benefit to the community as well. The faster you can identify issues and problems in your department, the better off you’re going to be, both short-term and long-term, which is why I’m so enthusiastic about Benchmark and what you bring to the table.

RH: Chuck, you said police use of force was on trial, right? What have we gotten right over the last few police reforms? You’ve been through all of them, Chuck. We had the professional model, problem-oriented policing, community policing… CompStat was in that mix…up to today. What would you give a high-letter grade for on the police, and what would you say, ‘Hey, folks, we just got to get better at’?

CR: I think we’re bringing better people into policing than we did before for the most part. Again, nothing’s absolute. There are 18,000 police departments in the United States…but just in general and from my experience having worked in Chicago, DC, and Philadelphia, I think the quality of individuals we’re bringing into our ranks are a lot better. I also think that unlike it was when I started, we see the community differently than we used to.

When I first started, at best you refer to community as just the eyes and ears. They had absolutely no voice, no role on anything, but through problem-oriented policing, community-oriented policing, that changed. Now, here’s where we didn’t get it quite right…because we started to build relationships, especially in some of our more challenged communities, but I think we underestimated how fragile those relationships really are.

There was a period of time when we moved away from community-oriented policing, that was the dominant policing philosophy. And because of the tremendous success – this isn’t a knock on New York – but it certainly was something that really changed thinking in policing. They had such tremendous success in lowering their crime through CompStat, through a data-driven approach, that many departments started to then try to copy that. But what they lost sight of is the human part of policing. It’s more than just dots on a map. It’s about human beings — and so you can’t lose those relationships. I think in many instances, and I was guilty of it myself, you become so focused on just putting cops on the dots and so forth that you lose sight of those relationships that really need a lot of care. As a result, when controversy started to surface, those relationships that you would’ve normally relied on weren’t there or at least they weren’t as strong as they could have been.

RH: Chuck, what is it about those relationships that made them so tenuous and that they weren’t robust? What’s the history of it? What is it? Then how do we fix that? Is it fixable?

CR: It’s fixable. I think everything is fixable, but it’s not going to be an easy fix. I think a few things have to happen. One, from a policing side, I think one of the things we don’t do well in most police academies – not necessarily all, but certainly in the ones I’ve been exposed to – we don’t spend a lot of time educating our officers on the history of policing in the United States. The history of policing, especially in challenged communities, communities of color, has not always been positive. We haven’t been seen as being protectors and guardians. In fact, we’ve been seen as part of the problem…not just historically, but even in some instances today, which was illustrated in some of the high-profile events I mentioned earlier.

I think the people that are being hired today, they don’t have any sense of that history. They weren’t alive, or they were so young. They certainly don’t remember it. They need to be reminded as to why people look at police differently in different communities depending on that history and trying to get officers to understand it. In fact, I’ve often said, if we can get police officers to see policing through the eyes of those being policed, that would be a major hurdle that we will have overcome. In other words, empathize with what some people are going through.

The second part of that on the community side, where’s your crime taking place? For the most part it’s confined to areas with high concentrations of poverty, lack of educational opportunities, job opportunities, lapidated housing, you name it. If it’s bad, it probably exists in that particular community. Where do you put your police officers when you’re deploying? You put most of your resources where you have most of your crime, particularly violent crime, and then that sets up a clash if you’re not careful.

One of the things that I thought was important that we were able to do in Philadelphia was to introduce foot patrol, which is an old concept, but we lost sight of that along the way in policing. All new recruits coming out of the Philadelphia Police Department start on foot patrol in some of our most challenged communities, not along commercial corridors, but right in the neighborhoods where you have crime committed in open space. What does that do?

One, there is a study that showed it had a direct impact on crime – 22% reduction – but even more important than that, officers learned very early on that even in the most challenged communities, there are more decent law-abiding people living there than there are criminals. You don’t know that when you’re driving down the street at 40 miles an hour in a Crown Vic with your windows up. You know it if you’re out there on foot walking up and down the street, and you see people sitting on the front porch. You engage in casual conversation. You meet young people who want the same things you want and the same thing your kids want. They’re just trapped in an environment that may not necessarily be conducive to a positive outcome.

Understanding that from an early part of your career I think will pay huge dividends in the future as we start to really understand from both sides what it is that’s going on and what’s really needed in order to make our community safe. We need to be able to respect and understand different points of view. Even if we don’t agree with it, at least understand where someone is coming from. If you can do that, then you go a long way toward trying to bridge that gap, strengthen relationships. Think about it, Ron. Let’s take the George Floyd incident.What if people in your city looked at that and said, ‘Oh my God, that’s terrible, but our cops would never do anything like that’? Because that’s the level of confidence and trust they have in your department. We’re a heck of a long way from that, but that’s what you have to strive for.

RH: For sure. Chuck, speaking of foot patrols in Philadelphia, when you were the chief in DC, you did things as well that I remember at the time struck me as very powerful. You used a resource right in your community, the Holocaust Museum. Can you share a little bit about that for the folks who don’t know what you did?

CR: When I was a brand, new police chief in 1998, when I left Chicago PD to take over as chief in DC…and anyone who’s ever taken over a police department – especially if you’re an outsider – everybody’s trying to get to know you. ‘I want you to come to different meetings’, and so forth. I got a letter from an individual who I did not know but has since become a very close personal friend, David Friedman, who at the time was executive director of ADL in Washington, DC. He sent me a letter inviting me to visit the museum at the invitation of course of the museum, and I accepted.

I was visiting the Smithsonian and trying to really learn a little bit about Washington anyway, and so I said okay, and it was on my schedule. It was the most powerful experience that I had to that date. I had the honor of actually walking through the museum with an actual survivor, Irene Weiss, who told me her personal story as we were walking through the museum. And, to make a long story short, it was a haunting experience. When I left, something was eating away at me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

I flew to Chicago to visit family and when I came back, I went back to the museum unannounced. When I went back through, right at the beginning of the experience, I saw a picture, and it was a picture of a German police officer with a soldier, a member of the SA. They had this dog, German shepherd on a leash with a muzzle, and he had this crazed look in his eye. What struck me was, ‘Wait a minute. I always thought the Holocaust was just involving Nazis and German soldiers’. I didn’t realize police played a role. As I went through, I kept looking for that, and it made me think — what is the role of police in a democratic society, and what happens when you lose sight of those responsibilities and constitutional obligations? Because Germany had been a democratic society prior to the rise of Hitler and the Nazis.

I thought that was an approach – not to call cops Nazis let’s make that clear – but to understand the important role that police play in a democratic society and how we actually help hold together the very fabric of democracy. When we lose sight of that, then the ultimate horror can take place. It was a backdoor way of getting at those critical issues: stop and frisk, biased policing, all those things. If you start taking rights away from one group of people, who’s next?

RH: When I first heard that, it was many years ago, Chuck. It always, always stayed with me what you did and the fact that you had police go through there. You sent recruits through or did you send everyone through?

CR: Everybody, it started with the command staff, then we sent recruits. Then we sent veteran officers, and since then now, all the federal agencies sent people through. Members of the military go through. Teachers go through. There have been almost 200,000 law enforcement people alone that have gone through that program.

RH: It struck me, Chuck, for a lot of reasons. It’s also very personal. I lost my grandfather in the Holocaust…never met him. Just a family history there and the fact that you would think of that way as trying to build in police an additional piece of consciousness from knowing history, our own nation’s history as well as others — super powerful.

CR: We did something else in Philadelphia, where we have the National Constitution Center. We visited there and learned they have a course where they teach the evolution of democracy from 1776, the signing of the Declaration of Independence up till today. I asked if they could trace the history of policing in America during that same period of time and even though early on there were no formal police departments…but you may have been, let’s say, catching slaves on a plantation if you were in the South — a police-like function. If you fast forward to the civil rights movement, who was waiting on the other side of the Pettus Bridge when civil rights marchers walked across? It was police. Understanding our own history here in the United States is important. This is the baggage we carry as a profession, and we need to acknowledge it and do things to make sure that that’s not our future. Maybe our past. We can’t change the past, but we can influence the future. The future begins now today, not tomorrow, but today.

RH: It speaks to why I think the trust issue is so hard, because it’s not just getting someone to trust you as the chief or your officers. They need to trust the institution. The institution has a lot of work to do, and I think it’s what is so – from my observation, Chuck – so hard today is you’re not just building trust from here forward, which you have to do…or the trust that’s been built which so many people work so hard on building that trust in the proper way. But you also need to do it in a profound enough way where the institution now rises and people look up to them.

CR: This kind of gets to the whole idea of what is legacy. Legacy isn’t about what you do as an individual; it’s what you leave behind in others. If you want something to survive long-term, it can’t be just built around an individual…because we come and go. It’s what happens after you go when nobody even remembers how you got there — but just what you do because it’s part of the culture now. That’s part of it. That’s a big part of it, and that’s how it lasts.

Don’t miss Part 2 in our post Investing in a Police Force that’s Poised for Leadership, where Mr. Ramsey discusses community engagement, cultural norms within a department and investing in the development of promotional systems.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

The following is part 2 of 2 in our IACP Leadership Series conversation between Benchmark CEO Ron Huberman and Bill Bratton, former Police Commissioner of New York City. In this entry, Mr. Bratton discusses current police accountability intentions, as well as the need to re-imagine society in order to reform policing and regain public trust.

RH: Bill, you’ve had the opportunity to reform and change the Los Angeles police, the NYPD following your term in both cities, they became broadly more accepted, certainly from my observation by the communities that you served, crime was down. This is a unique moment…this is a challenging moment. If you were to find yourself tomorrow back in the police chief chair, what would be the very top things you would do to try to win back the trust, to try to get things on a stable course if you were chief today?

BB: I’ll be quite frank with you, I would do exactly what I did in Boston in 1991, New York City in ’94, Los Angeles in 2002, and New York in 2014. Effectively, what I do, what I think many American police chiefs attempt to do, is to look at their departments like a doctor looks at a patient…no two cities are alike. The good news is, like a doctor, there is a broad range of expertise, knowledge, tools, equipment, ideas, prescriptions – if you will – on the wall. It’s the job of the police leader to identify what are the illnesses afflicting his or her city and what medicines need to be used and how are they to be prioritized.

I would argue that in New York, in LA, my most recent three experiences – New York twice and LA once – that a lot of the new medicines we applied there were beneficial to that patient. The good news is they were transportable, they could be used in other cities, maybe in different prioritization, maybe in different measures. What would be the first thing I would do? The same thing I always do, I would go in and do the CAT scan of the patient, CAT scan the two patients, basically the department and the city.

What are the strengths, what are the illnesses, and then how do the police match up with the illnesses that they’re being asked to deal with…and so it’s not a one size fits all. There’s also something that – you certainly, your company is engaged in at the moment – is the demand for police accountability of the organization, the leadership of the organization, down to the rank and file. It’s something we have not been very good at in the sense of both internally, and certainly externally, explaining ourselves to the public on our accountability systems.

The training we give, the supervision we give, the discipline we issue …there’s no denying that that is the Achilles Heel of American policing. That our accountability systems, the ability to identify at-risk officers before they come on the job, watch them as they come on the job and grow, and then effectively start retraining when appropriate…those are areas that universally in American policing, need to be priorities of focus — as well as the idea of understanding how you evaluate an officer. How do you identify an officer that’s in trouble?

This is actually going back to the preventive mode I talked about, the idea of prevent it before it becomes a crises or an illness. So exactly as we learned to do with crime and disorder…exactly as doctors will get a patient to identify what hereditary traits does this person have, what danger signals are there. Well, that’s what policing – essential to moving forward, to meet the needs of the community – is going to do for a much more transparent and effective set of accountabilities.

RH: What’s interesting about what you said Bill is a little bit about the conversations that I have with chiefs today, which is that something occurs…they go back, they pull everything on the officer, because obviously it’s going to be discoverable, it’s going to come out in court, and the chief is left in the following position: they either have to tell the community they didn’t know in a very genuine way because they didn’t have the data to know, or they knew and they didn’t care.

Either narrative in today’s context of policing just doesn’t resonate, meaning people believe, I think, fundamentally that you should know, so you don’t get the benefit of the doubt to that preventive piece.

Just a quick note from our research, Bill, is exactly what you’re saying in the sense that it’s a small percentage of folks. But what happens is those small percentage of folks find each other and work together, and often will congregate in a watch under a similar supervisor where you can have a trouble pocket. You can have a highly reputable functioning police agency and you can have one or two watches across the city that are out of control and problematic. To the degree you can break that up and get in front of that, I think is an opportunity for change — that’s very powerful in today’s world.

The two things that I think about from listening to your comments — one is there is this American reality…you talked about your Boston Police experience in the ’70s…I can tell you I policed in the Chicago police in the ’90s and saw racist actions. There is this generational dialogue that when I talk to my African-American friends and folks who live in communities that are highly policed where the families have stories of injustice, and so there has been this rage that has built — not because so much of what has occurred now, but because what has occurred now is representative of all these stories that have been passed down of the injustice.

And there’s now an opening or a moment where there is an airing of all of this generational grievances from grandparents to parents, of things that have been experienced, that it’s very hard for me to understand this moment, versus this moment being representative of a history, that I think is interesting.

Just one other comment and I’m going to jump to my next question to you, Bill, which is also this idea that what also strikes me about this moment is that when we look at the issue of race, opportunity, and lack of opportunity, it’s a very broad conversation. When I was school superintendent, I would always compare the amount of money I had to educate a student versus someone on the border of Chicago. I had about $7,000 a year, as a school superintendent in Chicago, to provide full education per student. If you lived on the other side of Howard Street, which is Evanston, that community spent $21,000 a year educating every student. Yet, the conversation around this issue is only about the police — it doesn’t cover housing discrimination, it doesn’t cover issues of education. And I think part of the challenge that police have is that until we broaden the conversation to what it rightfully should be, which is a larger societal conversation, police are going to own all these issues. Police can never own all these issues. It is a fundamentally unrealistic premise that somehow we need to have a larger dialogue about.

BB: Let me add to your comment about this moment, the moment, and the comments you just made. I’m thinking of earthquakes, seismic shifting of plates, volcanoes building up and exploding. Why is this time so different – 2020…2019 – than it was back in the ’60s, and then in the ’70s, then in the ’90s again?

One of the things that we are seeing is that we have been the dumping ground, if you will, for a lot of society and the government’s failed efforts to deal with mental illness…to deal with the drug crisis…to deal with the education crisis…to deal with the housing crisis…to deal with the unemployment crisis. All of those are significant influences on minority populations who are impacted the most by those things that the police don’t control.

When we let all the mentally ill out of the institutions in the ’70s and created the homeless populations on the street, who ended up having to service that population? Police. When we ended up with the drug crisis, particularly the ’80s and the occurrence now with opioids, who ends up dealing with that because of the government’s failure to adequately address that? The police. Who ends up with a failure of the education system, something you had mentioned that you had intimacy with from so many perspectives? It is the police, because if those kids don’t stay in school, are out on the streets on the corners, who are they going to end up encountering as they’re hanging out?

I believe what has happened at this moment and one of the positives about this moment, is that we are basically facing a reckoning. The reckoning around systemic racism, which is now being much more discussed and in a much more transparent fashion that it does exist.

The good news is that we’re at a point of reckoning. While the attention right now has been on police, police reform, and unfortunately the very visible actions of the police — that we are now entering into a discussion and appreciation that you can focus all you want on the reform of the police, but until you reform a lot of these other issues, the seismic plates are going to continue to rub against each other. Even though it looked good on the surface, that police reform by wonderful chiefs who want to reform…those other issues, if they’re not addressed – boom – they’re going to continue to explode.

RH: It’s clearly an “and” meaning the police reform, the reckoning on race, the historic reckoning of the race between police and communities today, we need to figure out that reimagining of the police that wins the trust and we concurrently have to make it a bigger conversation so that we solve these other problems and we get them on the table. Ultimately, I think we’re both agreeing that without other reform on other issues of equity as it relates to education and investment, I don’t know if the police alone will ever get us out of where we are.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

The following is part 1 of 2 in our IACP Leadership Series conversation between Benchmark CEO Ron Huberman and Bill Bratton, former Police Commissioner of New York City. In this entry, Mr. Bratton shares his expert historical perspective of policing platforms from different eras, which have all come together at this particular moment in time.

RH: Bill, this moment in American policing history seems to me to be different than almost any other historical precedent. Can you share your thoughts on how you might think of this moment of time relative to other moments in American policing — and what lessons might be learned from other moments like this that have been experienced?

BB: Well, I look at this period of time from the perspective of the 50 years I have actively spent in law enforcement or associated with it. I joined the Boston Police Department on October 7th, 1970. Over these last 50 years, I’ve been a witness to, a participant in, and in some instances, a leader in the ongoing evolution of policing in our country.

In many respects, that evolution has been marked by periods of revolution because the changes are so profound. At this point in time — 2019 to 2020 — we are in one of those revolutionary periods. It’s a major inflection point in terms of where it’s going to end up. The irony is police are always reforming. It’s like the practice of medicine…it’s like watching what’s going on with the coronavirus. We’re continually evolving and reforming. Well similarly, there’s a crime virus, where we’re always reforming and trying to find new ways to deal with it.

Going back to 1970 — I’m a great friend of, colleague, and admirer of George Kelling and his writing. George was so influential in my life over these last 50 years and has been so influential in American policing. I would argue that he’s the godfather of American policing…and he describes eras of policing in this country. One being the political era up to probably the 1930s, ’40s, early ’50s — in which politics really ruled policing in terms of its growth, its effectiveness, and its impact. Then in the ’50s, ’60s, and certainly into the ’70s, we entered into what was called and what George described as the Reform Era, the professionalization of American policing. That’s when I came into the business, and the profession which described itself as a profession in 1970 was anything but.

The first revolution that I was exposed to was in the 1970s. In the next 20 to 30 years, we were in that reform professional era — new technologies…911 came into being…computers…and much better training. At the same time, however, we were losing the fight against crime and disorder. I emphasize crime and disorder because I go back to Sir Robert Peel, the Peelian principles — the first being the basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.

One of the problems of the professional reform era was that we moved away from the idea that police could prevent; we focused instead on response because society was supposed to figure out how to prevent crime — a major mistake. We lost the fight against crime and disorder in the ’80s. Effectively, in 1990 throughout the country…New York City, which I was very intimate with…and Boston at that time, we had the worst crime years in the history of those cities and our country.

But another revolution occurred, one that I was pleased to be a participant of because it was birthed at Harvard University, the Kennedy School of Government, with the Executive Sessions on Policing, 17 major papers that effectively formed the foundation of community policing — neighborhood policing as we described it. I was privileged to write the last paper of the 17 with George Kelling; George wrote or co-authored six of those.

In the ’90s, we saw the benefit of that guidance, of that reform of American policing. That was assisted in 1994, with the creation of CompStat, the use of data to identify more quickly where problems were developing so we could move more quickly to prevent them — as well as accountability. So, we moved into the 21st century with crime going down dramatically and the profession continuing to reform and improve.

And then in the 21st Century, another revolution — 9/11, where American policing had to pivot very quickly to also deal with the issue of terrorism. Then a little later in that decade, 2007/2008, we had the birthing of the smartphone and all of the social media that came with it — Kindle, Twitter, and all those revolutions. In 2014, another revolution, Al Qaeda was superseded by ISIS as the major terrorist threat.

But also, in 2014, Ferguson, Missouri and the Garner incident in Staten Island in New York — which gave birth once again to the racial injustice issues that had always been percolating just below the surface. And once again, police were at the center of that — if anything they were the match that set the kindling on fire.

For the last four years, we have been engulfed, if you will, with the continuing threat of terrorism, a rebirth of the crime and disorder issue, the birthing of the Black Lives Matter issue, and all of those at this time in history are unresolved. They are all still a work in progress. Hopefully, that was a quick walk through.

RH: Yes, that’s exactly what I was hoping for though because you’ve lived through it and you led through those moments of American policing history. I think it’s lost on a lot of folks, or they just haven’t had the advantage of your experience. Bill, what strikes me about the current moment in reform is that there are lessons from each of those eras, lessons such as making the officer, so-called a warrior, because they’re only brought to bear for the most hardened criminals.

We can think of a lot of examples where history might suggest that the right next steps for American police reform are different than what is being prescribed in cities across our nation. Can you give a little perspective to what you are observing as the reforms that are being called for? What you would say from a historical perspective — are they on the right track, are they on the wrong track? How should a chief today think about that?

BB: To get back to 2020, we need to go back again quickly to the ’70s and ’80s. As part of that professional reform era, we were also dealing with rising crime, almost unchecked in the ’70s, and ’80s. The focus of policing was also attempting to deal with the 911 mess that was created, if you will, we were overwhelmed by 911 technology. We were also overwhelmed by crime and disorder. And so, policing, even as it was reforming, was recruiting and training and focused on the idea of fighting the war on crime.

That’s what the strength of community policing was, because as it evolved into the ’90s, community policing emphasized a lot of the Peelian principles of partnership. Police couldn’t do it alone, even as warriors. They needed partners in the rest of the criminal justice system, but in particular, they needed to work with the community. In working with the community, they had to identify the problems that were making the communities unsafe and fearful. And so, for the first time, policing began to engage with communities to understand cities like New York with 276 different neighborhoods. Chicago, probably many similar different neighborhoods. No two neighborhoods have exactly the same set of problems. Well, we tried to police it as a monolithic entity, and were policing it in response mode. In the ’90s, we shifted to focus on community priorities, partnerships, and the goal became prevention of crime…measured crime…where two, three, four incidents developed a pattern trend before they became 20 or 30.

Coming into the 21st century and moving up to 2020 very quickly…what is being asked of the police now, in some respects, the irony of the moment, is that the reforms of the last 30 years which I’m intimate with…I think of myself as a reformer, I think of the organizations I work with – PERF, Major Cities Chiefs, my colleagues in many of the major cities around the country, IACP – that we’ve been focused on reform. We’ve been focused on better training, better recruiting, diversification, better use of technology, better officer safety, de-escalation.

The irony is everything that is being looked for at the moment, we’re in an etch-a-sketch moment where those that are demanding reform are totally neglecting all the reform that has occurred to date. Everything in President Obama’s 21st Century initiative back in 2015 and 2016, the NYPD was doing with one or two exceptions — everything. The reform efforts of many police departments that I’m intimate with – New York, LA, Boston – were there. Were they there as far as an ultimate outcome? No, but they were embracing change.

The change that’s being looked for now, the concern I have is a generation driving the demand for change who have no memory, no understanding of history in terms of how far we have come. I would argue, American policing is one of the most progressive institutions, if not professions, in America in terms of our efforts to diversify. Where we are is not where we want to be certainly, but where we are, we’re not getting credit from where we’ve come from.

RH: Yes, lots of progress and lots of room to go, I think for sure.

Don’t miss Part 2 in our post, The Role of Societal Change in Police Reform and Accountability. Mr. Bratton discusses current police accountability intentions and the need to re-imagine society in order to reform policing.

This interview has been edited for clarity.