EIS PolicyLaw enforcement personnel have a unique position in our society. They are responsible for the safety and security of all those who reside in, work in, and visit their jurisdictions. As such, they have great responsibility to carry out their duties and exercise their authority within the bounds of established policies and procedures, which are an essential component of any law enforcement agency. Policies address pertinent matters, such as what entails acceptable behavior by employees. Procedures within a policy define a sequence of steps to be followed in a consistent manner — for example, the actions that need to be taken for an out-of-policy event.

As a general roadmap, policies ensure:

  • Strategic Alignment: Policies safeguard that law enforcement agencies’ actions are aligned with their mission, goals, and objectives.
  • Integrity: Clearly written policies help law enforcement personnel understand agency values and be more responsible for their actions.
  • Fairness and Consistency: Policies ensure all law enforcement personnel are treated impartially and in a reasonable manner.
  • Efficiency: Setting expectations and rules ahead of time saves time and any costs associated with inefficiencies.
  • Safety and Risk Management: Policies can prevent some problems from occurring or getting worse.

Policies and Procedures are Key to your EIS Success

Early Intervention Systems (EIS) are designed to identify officers who may be at risk of incidents, enabling targeted education and support to prevent potential issues. These systems are integral to modern policing strategies, focusing on officer wellness and performance improvement.

Having well-defined policies and procedures around an agency’s Early Intervention System has many important benefits, including:

  • Facilitating the prompt review of work-related occurrences involving their personnel that is non-disciplinary in nature.
  • Helping supervisory personnel make informed, fair, reasonable, and consistent decisions regarding the behavior and/or performance of their personnel.
  • Assisting agencies in exercising their responsibility to identify and support their personnel whose actions or inactions indicate possible stressors and/or need for intervention.

For agencies looking to enlist an Early Intervention System, establishing and maintaining specific EIS policies will improve the likelihood of getting off-track officers back on track; aid supervisors in their planning and support of officers; and build trust that the EIS at its core is a support tool. In the end, it will impact the overall integrity and success of your EIS.

Exploring EIS Policy Best Practices

In Benchmark’s recent installment of our Data Dialogue webinar series, Chief Partnerships Officer Chris Casula led a best-practice discussion on EIS polices. Titled “Early Intervention Systems: Exploring Best Practices for Establishing Your Agency’s Policies”, the webinar included an esteemed panel of agency leaders who have implemented – or currently are implementing – and EIS for their agencies, including Major Mike Harris and Captain Stephen Flatt at Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD; Sergeant Darwin Naval from San Francisco PD; and Senior Corporal Jared Nielsen with Dallas PD.

Each panelist highlighted their department’s unique approach to early intervention, discussing key issues surrounding policy, including:

  • Establishing an overall process for prompt review of flagged officers
  • Determining key stakeholders
  • Categorizing levels of at-risk behaviors
  • Developing non-punitive interventions
  • And developing training and mentoring resources

Policy in Action — Responding to Alerts

The discussion commenced with a summary of the four prevalent policy and procedural strategies agencies employ when responding to EIS alerts — with panelists weighing in on which one their agency uses and why. The four approaches – which were discussed in-depth in a previous session – include:

  1. Centralized: A chosen group of department leaders addresses each alert. Although efficient, this method can seem detached in larger agencies.
  2. Centralized Review: Here, a dedicated risk management team supervises all alerts. While this approach leverages specialized knowledge, it can inadvertently create a divide between the unit and the broader group of officers, possibly engendering an “us vs. them” attitude.
  3. Decentralized: Here, front-line supervisors are responsible for responding to their officers’ alerts. While fostering close bonds, this might result in inconsistencies due to diverse supervisory styles.
  4. Capacity Building: This is a combined effort where the risk management team collaborates with supervisors to provide training and expertise in deciphering alerts. It promises consistency and local responsibility, connecting various stakeholders and fostering trust.

Charlotte Mecklenburg PD’s decentralized model empowers the immediate chain of command to address alerts, believing supervisors are best positioned to understand and support their officers. According to Major Mike Harris, Charlotte Mecklenburg PD: “Ours is decentralized, pushing everything to the chain of command because with 1800 officers a centralized EIS couldn’t get to the granular issues like direct supervisors can. It’s meant as an intervention and employee wellness program.”

In contrast, San Francisco PD adopts a hybrid model, combining centralized review with decentralized action, depending on the alert’s severity. Senior Corporal Jared Nielsen, Dallas PD: “The officer’s chain of command reviews the alert and meets with them to create an action plan if needed. The goal is helping officers perform better.” Dallas PD is overhauling its program to transition from a threshold-based model, focusing on supporting officers through various non-punitive measures.

Across the board, panelists emphasized the importance of differentiating EIS from disciplinary measures. The systems are designed to support officers through voluntary training or incremental guidance and assistance, depending on the situation’s specifics. The goal is to help officers perform better and achieve more favorable career outcomes.

Building Trust through Policy Communication

A recurring theme was the need to build trust and ensure communication about the intent of an EIS — before, during and after the implementation process. Educating officers about the non-punitive nature of these systems is crucial. Many officers are unaware of the EIS in their departments, so informing them about its supportive purpose is key. This approach involves offering various options, like training or counseling, to assist officers effectively.

Sergeant Darwin Naval, San Francisco PD: “The biggest obstacle is communicating to officers that the system is non-punitive and supportive. Many don’t know we have an EIS. Educating all levels of the department has been crucial.”

According to Major Harris, “I think the most important thing I’ve learned in developing this program with Benchmark and First Sign is first clearly defining your ultimate goal for your EIS. For us, although the public likes terms like ‘early intervention,’ the backdrop is officer wellness.”

The panelists agreed it’s important that agencies clearly communicate an EIS as a supportive employee wellness initiative rather than a punitive tool. Conveying positive intent behind intervention policies and procedures proves vital for trust, participation, and outcomes. A cohesive internal team for continuity and momentum is recommended for achieving an agency’s communication goals.

EIS Customization and Flexibility is Key

The panelists agreed on the importance of customization and flexibility with an EIS. The systems should be tailored to individual departments and officers’ needs. Rigidity in such programs can be counterproductive. Continuous collaboration between law enforcement agencies and their EIS partner is vital to ensure the systems meet specific requirements and effectively support officers. According to Captain Flatt, “We held classes on the policy and system for all supervisors, stressing its supportive, non-punitive purpose as an early warning tool to make officers better. The flexibility to customize officer action plans has brought surprisingly good ideas from sergeants and lieutenants.”

Customization to each department’s policies, data sources, and localized needs makes platforms markedly more effective than inflexible one-size-fits-all systems. Frequent in-person communication from leadership around the progress and impact of their EIS can also be invaluable.

Addressing Performance and Wellness with Confidence

This final webinar of the year underscored the importance of Early Intervention Systems as a personnel management tool — and how having thoughtful EIS policies and procedures in place will enhance and impact results for your agency. The insights shared by the panelists provide valuable guidance for agencies looking to implement a new EIS.

Enlisting an advanced, data-driven solution like First Sign Early Intervention is crucial for adopting a proactive approach to officer wellness and performance. It goes beyond standard systems by establishing benchmarks that more accurately identify levels of behavior in need of support.

EIS Blueprint for Success

An Early Intervention System (EIS) can be a crucial asset for law enforcement agencies interested in managing their risk, in part by identifying officers who need assistance or support. The right system should monitor officer behavior and performance data to identify potential issues early, enabling focused interventions to minimize misconduct. However, the successful adoption of an EIS involves nuanced considerations in change management, data utilization, stakeholder engagement, implementation, and outcome measurement. This blueprint outlines essential factors in each area and serves as a roadmap for those agencies considering an EIS for optimizing officer performance.

Managing Change with Data

Introducing an EIS to an agency constitutes a significant cultural and technological shift that requires meticulous planning. According to an IACP policy document published in May 2020, agencies should consider several essential factors before moving forward with an EIS, such as:

  • The time commitment to administer the program
  • Deciding which agency-specific data points are critical for tracking and identifying performance trends
  • Establishing how that data will be collected, tracked, and used
  • Establishing policy for mapping potential actionable next steps once that data is extrapolated
  • Having alignment on who will be managing the execution and oversight of those next steps

Change management within any organization is never a light undertaking; it requires a strong commitment to achieve the objective at hand. For law enforcement agencies adopting an EIS it can mean the difference between helping struggling officers get back on track to become more productive in a non-punitive way — versus missing the opportunity to give them the incremental attention they need.

Using Data Effectively

The effectiveness of an EIS hinges on the quality of its data. Best practices for data application are:

  • Indicator selection: Prioritize in-depth data points that correlate closely with risk, such as arrest history, use of force incidents, internal affairs complaints, and missed court appearances. As stated in PERF’s 2015 article, Managing the Risks of Officer Misconduct and Failure through Early Intervention Systems: “Careful selection of data indicators based on those most predictive of risk is crucial for an EIS to flag situations accurately.”
  • Context analysis: Understanding the situations surrounding data points is critical for distinguishing meaningful trends — driven by complex, nuanced factors, such as adverse incidents, sequence of events, patterns of behavior and peer comparisons.
  • Ongoing indicator updates: Regular evaluations can guide adjustments for iterative learning, so that your EIS gets smarter and more efficient over time.
  • Data system integration: an EIS should be built on a modern suite of software with structured and accessible data — so that it’s easily integrated with incident data-capture systems, including computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems and record management systems (RMS) — as well as any existing personnel management systems in place, for a holistic ‘data in’ view that connects disparate information.

Measuring Outcomes

Quantifiable metrics are vital for realizing the impact of an EIS. Best-practice performance indicators include:

  • A predictive model that identifies patterns of problematic behavior and patterns of exceptional conduct
  • Understanding context of activity to distinguish between Quality and Quantity of activity to eliminate excessive flags and investigations
  • Account for detailed officer activity relative to immediate peer groups to determine risk levels
  • Provide explainable, actionable alerts with non-punitive, non-disciplinary interventions
  • Transform risk management by significantly reducing exposure to rising liability costs

By consistently tracking such metrics, police departments can validate the advantages of an EIS for officers, departments as a whole, as well as the communities they serve.

Grounded in Research

It is critical that any data analysis is informed by research focused on utilizing performance data of officers so that the EIS can identify officers needing incremental support. First Sign® Early Intervention is the only EIS that uses national research combined with the patterns of data generated within an individual agency over several years to identify those law enforcement personnel with the greatest need for intervention.

Data scientists, who are experts in the field, developed First Sign based on a holistic view of available information that is indicative of risk. Drawing from multiple indicator categories, the First Sign system calculates overall activity and behavior, as well as trends compared to peer groups based on rank, nature of assignment, geography, and deployment time.

Because of this expertise, First Sign is a proven, predictive, and preventative system unlike any other to identify officers at risk for problematic behavior:

  • First Sign has seen an average model precision of 85%. For comparison, traditional early warning systems have a model precision of roughly 30%.
  • With a great degree of confidence, First Sign can identify an average of 5% of officers at risk within an agency.
  • Additionally, that 5% is responsible for 66% of injuries (both officer and citizens) and disproportionate use of force incidents.

Assessing Levels of Risk and Courses of Action

The effectiveness of any EIS largely depends on a department’s ability to manage a systematic set of actions to assist officers displaying at-risk behaviors. Upon identifying such behavior, it is advisable for agencies to have a process for assessing the officer’s level of risk. Subsequently, a specific, monitored plan that is non-punitive and non-disciplinary should be developed and implemented to provide the officer with the necessary support.

To facilitate this crucial phase, Benchmark offers a platform known as C.A.R.E. (Case Action Response Engine®). This course-of-action platform aids law enforcement agencies in managing officers identified as at-risk with First Sign, by featuring research-based case management modules. These modules are tailored for officer-specific interventions and include benchmarks for best practices at various levels of intervention. The goal of C.A.R.E. is to assist departments in ensuring that no officers displaying at-risk behavior go unattended.

A Skilled Implementation Team is Key

Getting to go-live in order to harness the full power of an EIS requires a seasoned implementation team — preferably one comprised of people who have either served in government roles or have substantial work experience serving complex municipal and government customers specifically. Certainly, all team members should have deep experience deploying configurable off-the-shelf software to customers.

Ideally, you should anticipate ongoing investment and research that constantly increases functionality, provides guidance on best practices, and allows access to research on personnel development.

Finally, the team should consist of a strategic mix of implementers, data scientists, and engineers to ensure an effective and efficient implementation.

The Path Forward: Navigating the Road to Early Intervention Success

Adopting an effective early intervention system requires a collective dedication to change, while the rewards to agencies can be substantial — from improved officer performance to enhanced community relations.

If your department is considering implementing an EIS — or you believe you can do better than your current system, contact Benchmark Analytics to speak with a solutions expert about First Sign® Early Intervention System. As the only data-driven, research-based EIS available today, First Sign empowers law enforcement agencies to harness their data for exceptional personnel management.


In an ever-evolving society, the roles and expectations placed on law enforcement officers – including how they engage and interact with the communities they serve – are continually changing. The same is true for how they are managed and supported for optimal on-the-job performance. As part of that infrastructure, the right early intervention system can become an indispensable tool for agency leaders aiming to discern and act on any potentially problematic patterns in officer behavior.

Such a system would be designed to identify and address these patterns before they develop into major incidents, ensuring the public’s safety and the officer’s well-being. Yet, the thoughtful implementation of a successful EIS requires careful consideration, adept change management, and a comprehensive understanding of an agency’s culture.

This summer, Benchmark Analytics presented the second installation of their Data Dialogue webinar series, led by CEO Ron Huberman, titled “Navigating EIS Alerts: Mastering the Right Approach for Your Agency.” Among the panel of participants were Benchmark’s Chief Research Officer, Nick Montgomery, Vice President of Data Science, Dr. Ugochi Jones, and Director of Data and Enterprise Analytics, Riley Maloney.

Four Approaches to EIS Alerts

Riley Maloney kicked off the discussion by outlining the four prevalent strategies that agencies employ in response to EIS alerts, signaling that an officer might need intervention. These strategies included:

  1. Centralized: A chosen group of department leaders addresses each alert. Although efficient, this method can seem detached in larger agencies.
  2. Centralized Review: Here, a dedicated risk management team supervises all alerts. While this approach leverages specialized knowledge, it can inadvertently create a divide between the unit and the broader group of officers, possibly engendering an “us vs. them” attitude.
  3. Decentralized: Here, front-line supervisors are responsible for responding to their officers’ alerts. While fostering close bonds, this might result in inconsistencies due to diverse supervisory styles.
  4. Capacity Building: This is a combined effort where the risk management team collaborates with supervisors to provide training and expertise in deciphering alerts. It promises consistency and local responsibility, connecting various stakeholders and fostering trust.

Riley observed that the efficacy of each model is contingent on the agency’s internal intervention mechanisms. More and more agencies are turning to Benchmark – with its First Sign® Early Intervention and C.A.R.E. platforms – and as a result, these agencies can discern the most fitting approach for their organizational design.

“In each of these systems, it’s vital to remember that an early intervention system’s strength lies in the interventions allocated in response to an alert. If an alert arises but is not acted upon, it’s futile. Benchmark dedicates significant time collaborating with agencies during the rollout phase to identify which of the four methods, or perhaps a new one, is most suited for their specific context. The aim is to determine how an agency can respond most effectively to an EIS alert.”

The Importance of Documentation

Often, in decentralized models, sergeants – due to their close ties with officers – are the first responders to EIS alerts. Yet, some supervisors might hesitate in documenting interventions, choosing instead to address matters informally. Despite good intentions, more documentation is needed to ascertain the efficacy of these interventions.

The panel acknowledged the importance of maintaining productive relationships with officers. However, they also emphasized that thorough documentation is indispensable for gauging success.

Challenges and Solutions in EIS Implementation

The discussion evolved toward potential obstacles in implementing an early intervention system. For instance, in larger agencies, supervising officers may become disconnected from frontline officers, complicating meaningful interventions. Additionally, some supervisors might need more training to formally document interventions due to existing cultural norms within the agency or lack of training.

Benchmark’s Chief Research Officer Nick Montgomery championed the capacity-building model, underscoring its balance between immediate alert responses and aiding supervisors in interpreting data and devising meaningful interventions.

“In any department, promotions are inevitable. Officers ascend to the rank of sergeants, and sergeants get promoted to lieutenants, among other shifts. There will be departures and new inductions, signifying change. This capacity-building method isn’t just about managing this flux. It’s centered on empowering individuals with the requisite skills to flourish in this dynamic setting. This isn’t confined to logistical details but extends to enhancing communication with officers, interpreting data accurately, and formulating robust strategies. Ultimately, it prepares the department for sustained improvement.”

Dr. Ugochi Jones delved into the shortcomings of casual interventions and emphasized the need for careful documentation. “In my discussions with supervisors, many who aren’t deeply engaged with the system (First Sign) still favor informal intervention. While they value effective communication when addressing potential issues among officers, they feel documentation makes it overly formal. We must consider this sentiment in our approach.”

Dr. Jones stressed the importance of constructive, data-driven exchanges with officers and the imperative to shift the perception and reality of interventions as a punitive measure to a supportive tool for officers. Meanwhile, Riley Maloney advocated for the inclusion of diverse stakeholders when shaping EIS policies, positing that this broad-based approach bolsters system trust.

The Path Forward

Effective communication and supervisory advancements are crucial. Benchmark’s First Sign is the only peer-to-peer, research-backed early intervention system — and has the potential to become a force multiplier for positive organizational transformation, with its implementation varying from agency to agency. The consensus among the panel was clear: for agencies with over a hundred officers, the capacity-building approach appears to be the most fitting. Meanwhile, smaller agencies benefit from a centralized or centralized review approach. However, the panel emphasized that agencies should not choose an approach based solely on size.

No single method can achieve widespread organizational change. Successful implementation requires a comprehensive strategy, strong stakeholder engagement, and the careful integration of technology.


Advancements like drones, virtual reality training, and other hardware-based technologies are said to be “revolutionizing” policing, giving law enforcement leaders a vast array of tools to confront rising crime rates and public demands for action. Useful as these tools are, they cannot inform policy decisions or point to improvements in personnel management strategies –measures that show the greatest potential in positively impacting public trust and the effectiveness of police operations as a whole. The emerging field of data science, however, has the capability to move the needle on some of these “big picture” problems.

Without intentional and research-based data collection and analysis practices, policing leaders are effectively flying blind when shaping policies and allocating resources within their agencies. Just as troubling, they may miss out on substantial cost-savings that often come with an investment in their data science capabilities. This article looks at the basics of data science in law enforcement and its potential to guide meaningful and positive changes in law enforcement.

What is Data Science?

Data science is a relatively new technical field, with the term only coming into common usage in the last 25 years. Though those in the field still debate some of the finer points of what encompasses data science, Amazon Web Services (AWS), a global leader in cloud computing, defines it in the following way.

“Data science is the study of data to extract meaningful insights for business. It is a multidisciplinary approach that combines principles and practices from the fields of mathematics, statistics, artificial intelligence, and computer engineering to analyze large amounts of data. This analysis helps data scientists to ask and answer questions like what happened, why it happened, what will happen, and what can be done with the results.”

Many in the field differentiate data science from statistics because it focuses on questions and problems unique to the digital age. Essential to this definition is the notion that data science is not a singular pursuit but, instead, a set of intersecting skill sets and techniques used to study a problem. Crucially, data scientists in fields like law enforcement and public policy use these insights to craft evidence-based solutions to these problems.

Crime Side Advances

Tracking largely with the personal computer revolution of the 1980s – which brought computing and data processing out of university labs and into homes and smaller offices – data science found an immediate use-case in policing.

COMPSTAT is one of the earliest and most recognizable examples of the use of data science methodology in law enforcement. Pioneered in the NYPD in the early 1990s, COMPSTAT incorporated crime mapping and trend analysis and was thought to have significantly impacted crime rates in cities that have adopted the practice.

Building on the fundamentals of COMPSTAT, a new generation of predictive analytics shows impressive potential as a crime-fighting tool – with substantial cost-savings as well. According to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), predictive analytics build on established policing strategies while leveraging growing data sources to inform newer, proactive tactics. It also offers substantial cost-savings, enabling policing leaders to deploy their resources more efficiently and, ultimately, effectively.

Informing Policy and Personnel Management

In addition to its demonstrated success in field operations, data science also has a vital role on law enforcement’s administrative side. The 2015 final report from The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing emphasized the importance of data collection and analysis, stating, “(A) lack of relevant data impacts the ability of communities and law enforcement agencies to make informed policy and practice adjustments based on good information.” The report called for enhanced data collection efforts as a means to increase transparency and accountability – ultimately in service of improving public trust in policing.

Accurate and reliable data is crucial to modern law enforcement personnel management strategies. For instance, early intervention systems rely on this data for predictive analysis, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. False negatives derived from faulty analysis are potentially costly, contributing to an agency’s exposure to the risk of a lawsuit or civil rights claim.

In building First Sign®, Benchmark’s data scientists and engineers leverage the power of the world’s largest multi-jurisdictional officer performance database while incorporating iterative learning that uses cumulative analytics to get “smarter” and more efficient over time. This technology gives supervisors a more holistic picture of an officer’s performance, especially relative to others, and enables them to engage in more targeted and meaningful interventions.

Finally, the use of data science in personnel management has the potential for substantial cost savings. According to a recent paper published by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard, every one dollar of the cost associated with data analytics can return up to nine dollars in value to agencies. At a time of economic uncertainty when municipal budgets are strained, the cost-savings inherent in a data-informed personnel management strategy cannot be ignored.

Looking Ahead

At Benchmark Analytics, our purpose is guided by data science and evidence-based analysis. We specialize in public safety personnel management – it is our area of unique expertise. When we gather and analyze data sets, we use the product of that work for personnel management, professional standards, and early intervention. Taking this a step further, we work in partnership with our academic research consortium and use this data to contribute to a broader understanding of policing for the public good.

Incorporating data science more thoroughly into law enforcement operations allows law enforcement leaders to make smart and more cost-effective decisions, from personnel decisions to deploying resources in the field. Benchmark Analytics is proud to be on the leading edge of using data science to produce better policing outcomes while improving community relations.

As 2022 winds down, the challenges agencies face in recruiting and retaining officers remain an urgent issue for law enforcement leaders. Macroeconomic factors such as generational shifts and changing expectations of work in general, combined with the unique pressures of recruiting and retaining high-performing officers, contribute to severe staffing shortfalls in law enforcement.

Recruiting and RetentionWith violent crime rates on the rise, recruitment and retention rank among the top issues for law enforcement leaders – so much so that the upcoming IACP Conference in Dallas is scheduled to have numerous experts speaking on the subject with discussions exploring topics like the impacts of workplace culture and leadership development programs, to list just a few. The shortfalls have become so severe that five-figure signing bonuses are now typical across the country. Underscoring the crisis further, some jurisdictions are even considering hiring non-sworn civilians to handle non-emergency calls.

In this article, we’ll look at the root causes contributing to the staffing crisis while examining how a fresh approach to recruiting and an emphasis on data and analytics to understand what’s working can move the needle when confronting shortfalls.

What’s Causing Recruitment and Staffing Shortfalls?

The most recent research from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) speaks to the magnitude of recruitment shortfalls. From April 2020 to March 2021, resignations rose by 18%, while retirements jumped an impressive 45%. Adding to the urgency created by staffing shortages, these statistics show how large agencies (500+ sworn officers) are likely feeling the effects more intensely than smaller departments. The report showed that “large” agencies faced a 36% reduction in recruitment numbers over the same period.

Understanding the magnitude of the problem is generally easier than understanding the underlying factors contributing to it. The COVID-19 global pandemic has upended and realigned industries throughout the country, including law enforcement. Making its way into headlines is the notion of a Great Resignation and so-called “quiet quitting”,  which are both characterized by workers reprioritizing work-life balance and seeking higher wages in a job seeker’s market, the likes of which have not been experienced in at least a generation. Though there’s evidence this wave of resignations may have hit its peak in 2021, the ripple effects continue to contribute to major staffing shortfalls across the country – especially in law enforcement.

The issues driving this wave of resignations – working hours, conditions, and compensation – are particularly prevalent in law enforcement. Shiftwork is especially difficult for law enforcement officers where inconsistent scheduling and unpredictable overtime can create acute problems for an officer’s health and wellness. The national average annual pay for law enforcement officers remains above the salary of the average American worker. This is not always true in some parts of the country, especially those with booming technology sectors. The draw of higher-paying and less-dangerous work puts law enforcement at an inherent disadvantage regarding recruitment.

Lastly, public perception of police and policing strategies creates barriers to more robust recruiting across the profession. The Pew Research Center conducts longitudinal research on public perception of law enforcement and has charted notable declines in survey participants’ views on how police treat the public and how effectively investigators pursue misconduct cases. The results of these surveys tend to be most visible along with race and political lines though there’s been some softening of positive views across the board. These broader cultural attitudes create an issue for recruiters where a sociological concept known as social desirability bias — the desire to present one’s attitudes, behaviors, and occupation in a positive light – steers potential recruits away from a profession with a perceived negative social stigma attached to it.

Gender Parity in Recruiting

For as long as women have been working in the law enforcement field, social scientists and academics have taken a keen interest in designing research to help us better understand what they bring to the job and how they compare to their male counterparts. Studies have confirmed intuitions about unique skills women bring to their agencies and communities as well as cast serious doubts on outdated assumptions surrounding their capabilities and job performance.

Social scientists and researchers have studied the impacts of a gender-diverse police force since the 1970s. A landmark study in 1987 and many subsequent studies have contributed to the strong argument that diverse police forces benefit the communities they serve.

Research suggests female officers are less likely to be involved in incidents involving excessive use of force than their male counterparts. Though a correlation has not been conclusively established, women also tend to show, on average, more advanced interpersonal communication skills, which suggests they may be more likely to practice de-escalation tactics, further reducing the incidence of excessive force.

Women officers tend to be highly skilled at addressing crimes involving violence against women and sex crimes. Sexual assault is a sensitive issue, and it is thought that more significant numbers of female officers may help break down some of the barriers to reporting such crimes. Studies have shown a correlation between increased female representation in police forces and declines in intimate partner murder rates and rates of repeated domestic abuse, as well as higher clearance rates in these cases.

Making Data Work

From simplifying the paper shuffling of applications and background checks to generating actionable insights from candidate pools, data has the power to make a measurable impact on recruiting efforts. It also contributes to substantial cost savings. According to a recent paper published by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard, every one dollar of the cost associated with data analytics has the potential to return up to nine dollars in value to agencies.

From a practical standpoint, data analysis can be a catalyst for improvements across the recruitment process. A 2018 survey indicated that 30% of law enforcement professionals simply did not know how effective their recruitment strategies were. Through data analysis, law enforcement leaders can take a step-by-step look at their recruitment programs by isolating and testing various aspects of their policies and making improvements guided by these insights.

The San Jose Police Department demonstrated one example of this granular, data-informed approach to recruitment. Attrition in recruiting is something nearly all departments experience — with many highly motivated applicants already in the pipeline dropping out of the process. Recognizing this missed opportunity through data analysis, the department asked those recruits who had left the process to provide feedback to address any bottlenecks or pain points in the process. In addition to generating data points on why recruits left, the solicitation also invited applicants to reapply. As a result of this experiment, 125 recruits reactivated their applications.

What’s Next?

Recruiting and retention issues in law enforcement aren’t likely to be solved immediately, as the scale and scope of the problem mean it affects agencies of all sizes throughout the country. Evidence points to the value of prioritizing the health and wellness of recruits and existing officers while building a renewed focus on seeking qualified candidates that may not fit the traditional mold of law enforcement officers. It is clear that rigorous analytics, based on data science, is well-spent and can provide law enforcement with the insights they need to maximize the effectiveness of their recruitment and retention efforts.


Legislative agendas, shifting policy priorities, and the churn of senior leadership ensure that change is a constant in law enforcement. This is exceptionally true in an era of policing primarily defined by far-reaching reform efforts and a rising crime rate that demands department personnel and leadership are operating at the peak of their capacities.

‘Change management’ is a broad term that encompasses how organizations approach and work through change. Though initially a concept and set of strategies more at home in the corporate world, they offer a blueprint for how agency leaders can cope with policy changes. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to change management, this article looks at concepts and strategies that have been shown to produce positive outcomes in the face of change.

What is Change Management?

In the business world, the primary goal of change management is to successfully implement new processes, products, and business strategies while minimizing adverse outcomes for the organization as a whole. Research paints a stark picture of the need for effective change management strategies, showing that some 70% of change-based initiatives ultimately fail.

The discipline of change management originated in the 1980s, corresponding with a period of substantial shifts in corporate culture. Once on the periphery of academic theory, it became a commonly adopted set of strategies in the 2000s, with managers and executives realizing the need to stay nimble in a dynamic business world.

While different schools of thought practice somewhat different strategies, the Society of Human Resources Managers identifies Harvard Business Professor John Kotter’s methodology as one of the most widely adopted; its key points include:

  • Creating a sense of urgency and building a guiding coalition of employees trusted by their peers.
  • Forming a strategic vision that’s imaginable, feasible, focused, and easily understood and enlisting a “volunteer army” to aid in communicating this vision to their peers.
  • Enabling action by removing barriers – inflexible structures, processes, or a lack of knowledge – and looking for short-term wins that keep the momentum moving forward.
  • Sustaining acceleration by building on short-term success and, when needed, revising smaller goals to realign with the organization’s broader goals. Change is finally instituted by linking the norms of group behavior with the organization’s shared values.

Unique Challenges in Law Enforcement

Corporate strategies offer a sound basis for understanding change management in policing – they’re widely tested across different fields and subject to academic review and rigorous debate. However, law enforcement poses a set of distinct needs and challenges that require a more specialized approach than in the corporate world.

Many corporate strategies emphasize taking the time to “get things right”. In law enforcement when working towards compliance with consent decrees or new reform-oriented legislation, that timeline for change is often set externally. Furthermore, policing as an institution can be resistant to change partly due to the rigid command structure inherent in its traditions. It is well-understood in most departments that change comes from the top down, leaving implementation and, ultimately, success to the lower ranks.

Managing Organizational Stress

Policing is known to be a stressful profession, with as many as 85% of officers reporting high stress levels as a result of their work. These elevated stress levels are considered significant contributors to the rapid rise in resignations and retirements driving the staffing crisis in the profession. They also can have a profound effect on officers’ health, contributing to fatigue, mental health issues, and suicide.

There are two categories of stress officers experience in the profession. The inherent stress of the job is relatively straightforward and encompasses the danger officers face as well as the psychological effects of dealing with crime scenes and victims, for example. Organizational stress is more complex and refers to the stress officers face navigating the administrative side of their work – command structure, salary concerns, internal affairs, and, notably, policy changes. Research has shown organizational stressors have a total effect on stress levels 6.3 times greater than the inherent stressors of the work.

Change Management Strategies

To equip officers for organizational shifts coming as the result of legislative policy changes, consent decrees, and leadership turnover, the fundamentals of corporate change management strategy can be adopted with an emphasis on supporting officers through the changes. As discussed in a recent article in Police Chief Magazine, preparing officers for shifts in policy by emphasizing agency culture and resiliency shows promise for success as an effective change management strategy.

In law enforcement, leaders typically serve an elected mayor and simply do not have all of the change management strategies available in the corporate world. Understanding that “…organizationally based stresses negatively affect police officers and are predictors of depression, anxiety, and traumatic stress symptoms,” the author proposes three main areas of interest for police leaders to build resiliency to change.

  1. Supportive leadership that can “engage in identifying and mitigating organizational and operational stressors.” Leadership that listens and actively responds to their officers is vital to any change management strategy.
  2. Education-based disciplinary programs wherein officers acting outside of policy are not necessarily penalized for relatively minor infractions but instead offered opportunities to participate in training or other alternative programs.
  3. A focus on mental and physical health that seeks to mitigate the effects of change-based stress. The correlation between physical and mental health is well documented, and programs that build physical health are shown to impact overall wellness. Additionally, mental health support staff and peer support programs have demonstrated great success in reducing stress levels and promoting resiliency.

Law enforcement is a constantly changing profession. Whether it is the adoption of new technologies, new policies enacted by elected officials, or the shifts in direction from new leadership – change is indeed a constant in policing, and it will never be “easy.” Law enforcement leaders that take what works from the corporate world and thoughtfully apply it to the unique needs of policing can be setting their agencies on the right path to effective change management.

In 2022 the United States finds itself at a crossroads with policing. Crime rates are spiking while clearance rates for murders and other major crimes are lagging. Police departments across the country are struggling to recruit and retain officers, further compounding the problem and adding urgency to calls for evidence-based and effective law enforcement recruitment strategies.

The scale of this problem confronting law enforcement requires resources and, importantly, a willingness to try new ideas. Among the most promising new ideas are those based on data and controlled experimentation – providing a blueprint for departments across the country to fine-tune to meet their unique needs.

What follows are initiatives and fresh ideas producing the positive results needed to ‘meet the moment’ in policing.

Legislative Action

First and foremost, agencies need more resources to attract and retain the best candidates and officers. Put simply: inflation is contributing to an urgent need to grow salaries and benefits to compete with the private sector for the best talent.

One such example is the Pathways to Policing Act. Introduced this May into the U.S. House of Representatives by a broadly bipartisan group of members of Congress, this bill seeks to provide $100M of funding for national and state-level recruitment initiatives. It has already been endorsed by the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA) along with several state-level professional organizations and newspaper editorial boards.

The federal funding bill is partly based on the success of a joint program (also called Pathways to Policing) in Minnesota between Bloomington, St. Louis Park, and other police departments. The program’s goal is to attract nontraditional candidates to policing by addressing some of the barriers to their participation with assistance such as tuition stipends, on-the-job training running concurrently with coursework, and pay while completing training.

Growing Grant Resources

In addition to funding from specific legislative actions, the Department of Justice (DOJ) plays a major role in disbursing funds to law enforcement, often signaling the priorities of the current administration and agency leadership. In late 2021, DOJ announced $139M in grants available to “enable law enforcement agencies across the country to hire more than 1,000 additional officers to support vitally important community-oriented policing programs.”

Furthermore, as of this writing (July 2022), applications for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program have just opened. Grant awards can be designated for recruitment and retention efforts, among other community-based policing programs. Grant applications are due in early August (the due date varies by application method) and will be awarded this October.

Residency Requirements

While greater funding resources are a top priority of virtually every law enforcement executive, leaders have found success with low-to-no-cost tactics that can reduce the barriers to recruitment while still maintaining high standards.

Residency requirements are frequently a condition of employment in many law enforcement agencies. These requirements are often a sensitive subject, with valid arguments both for and against establishing such requirements. Several cities and counties are revisiting these requirements, while cities like Kansas City (MO) have eliminated the requirement altogether to help with recruiting and retention.

A New Look

Other departments are revisiting uniform and appearance standards as a means to adapt to changing cultural norms as well as attract candidates that are more representative of the communities they serve. Bakersfield, California has an Indian Sikh community of more than 35,000 residents but had no Indian officers until the early 2000s. Recently, the department has reexamined rules concerning facial hair – finding that the beards that Sikh men typically wear as a part of their religious tradition “had no impact on whether or not they could do their job [as police officers].”

Similarly, departments are reevaluating tattoo policies. Approximately 30% of Americans now have at least one tattoo, up from 21% just ten years ago. That figure rises to 40% for those ages 18-34. With this shift in cultural norms, especially among younger candidates, agencies like Springfield (MO) Police Department are loosening outright bans on visible tattoos to open doors to the profession and increase the pool of qualified candidates.

Making Data Work

From simplifying the paper-shuffling of applications and background checks to generating actionable insights from candidate pools, data has the power to make a measurable impact on recruiting efforts. It also contributes to substantial cost savings. According to a recent paper published by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard, every one dollar of the cost associated with data analytics has the potential to return up to nine dollars in value to agencies.

From a practical standpoint, data analysis can be a catalyst for improvements across the recruitment process. A 2018 survey indicated that 30% of law enforcement professionals simply did not know how effective their recruitment strategies were. Through data analysis, law enforcement leaders can take a step-by-step look at their recruitment programs by isolating and testing various aspects of their policies and make improvements guided by these insights.

The San Jose Police Department demonstrated one example of this granular, data-informed approach to recruitment. Attrition in recruiting is something nearly all departments experience — with many highly motivated applicants already in the pipeline dropping out of the process. Recognizing this missed opportunity through data analysis, the department asked those recruits who had left the process to provide feedback to address any bottlenecks or pain points in the process. In addition to generating data points on why recruits left, the solicitation also invited applicants to reapply. As a result of this experiment, 125 recruits reactivated their applications.

Exploring New Recruitment Strategies

While recruitment has been a perennial challenge for law enforcement, rising crime and image issues have only amplified the problem and contributed to the urgency with which policing leaders must address it. While what works in one department may not consistently achieve the same results in another, a willingness to explore novel ideas and follow data insights shows excellent promise in confronting the recruiting crisis.

Law enforcement personnel management is hard to get right – and a new era of police reform has amplified those challenges with increased attention from lawmakers and the public demanding accountability. Benchmark Analytics is a specialist in police personnel management technology with a proven track record of advancing Professional Standards, Accountability, and Transparency for law enforcement agencies.

When confronting these challenges, don’t trust your critical data management to companies specializing in weapons, cameras, CAD or RMS systems. At Benchmark, we understand that the crime side of the profession is entirely different from the personnel management side. Specialization in professional standards matters – and requires a focused approach.

Our Specialized and Unique Legacy

Benchmark Analytics was founded by a group of dedicated professionals with decades of experience in law enforcement professional standards. We know how to harness the power of data and analytics in advancing officer management and administration – and we’ve built a blueprint for meeting the needs of leadership stakeholders.

Our personnel management software:

  • Supports agencies that are seeking accreditation through CALEA and state accreditation bodies.
  • Incorporates IACP best practices and ethics tool kit recommendations.
  • Aligns with Department of Justice officer conduct guidelines.

We care about officer well-being, and our systems are centered on improving officer performance. To do so takes research, time, and focus. Our ongoing commitment to research that supports officer performance and wellness is reflected in our Research Consortium, which contributes to the body of knowledge that supports officers.

With this focus on officer performance and well-being as a guiding principle of our work, we would never house offender or criminal data in the same systems as police personnel information and possibly career-altering Internal Affairs data. They are not the same and should never be treated as such. As specialists in law enforcement personnel management, we understand the distinction.

The Difference is Clear

Don’t risk trusting someone to deliver on your personnel management needs when it falls outside their area of expertise. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • They sell non-lethal weapons, body-worn cameras, CAD and RMS systems, and VR training; we specialize in IA, UoF, and other personnel data capture and tracking
  • They overpromise in diverse offerings; we deliver a singular focus
  • Personnel management software is simply ancillary for them, just another pursuit – for us, it is a mission and a calling.

Why It Matters to Partner with a Personnel Management Specialist 

We Get Internal Affairs

Internal Affairs case management is often a layered, lengthy, and complex process – plenty can go wrong with severe consequences for your officers and the public’s trust in your agency’s accountability and transparency.

Internal Affairs management involves the diverse needs of personnel, leadership, policymakers, and public stakeholders – and the decisions made about Internal Affairs can profoundly impact public and internal trust. The right Internal Affairs system promotes transparency and provides for a fair process for all involved. Simply, we know the difference a good Internal Affairs system can make.

Our IA Case management platform within the Benchmark Management System® (BMS):

  • Facilitates allegation intake, investigation, and evidence management
  • Streamlines and manages chain of command review, approvals, and reporting
  • Ensures officers under allegation receive timely notification of findings and recommended actions
  • Supports an unlimited amount of roles and permissions
  • AND, importantly, is a platform protected and separated from offenders and other data that does not belong in a system focused on improving the performance of those officers in your trust

We Understand the Importance of Use of Force Data Analysis

Use of Force incidents were the catalyst for this modern era of police reform. For departments to effectively track these incidents, they need an easy-to-use, intuitive, and comprehensive system. For the data collected to be actionable, from a policy or personnel perspective, it must be accurate with sophisticated reporting tools.

Good data capture means the difference between success and failure in meeting reform mandates – don’t leave such a critical element of personnel management to a company that’s out of its depth. Through our extensive experience, we know failure is not an option.

Our Use of Force platform within BMS:

  • Documents all Use of Force incidents, including vehicle pursuits and traffic crashes
  • Guides an officer through all important issues necessary for thorough documentation
  • Creates a detailed description of an incident, with narrative reports and subject statements
  • Supports an unlimited amount of roles and permissions
  • AND, unlike with other providers, is an independent, verifiable report that may be integrated with – but is not comingled with – other criminal data or evidence

We Consider the Impact of Collective Bargaining Agreements

An agency’s collective bargaining agreement can drive certain types of data collection and personnel policies – from consistency and objectivity of review to recommended courses of action for misconduct.

When policies change due to a collective bargaining agreement, law enforcement leaders are accountable for implementing those changes. Policy changes require verifiable proof that they’re working – the outcome is critical.

At Benchmark, we have direct experience with CBAs from both the personnel and leadership perspectives – and we’ve seen firsthand and up close their impact on policies and procedures.

That’s why our solutions are customizable and configurable to existing agreements – and adaptable to changing conditions and CBA requirements. We care to get this right.

We Accommodate Changing Policies and Desired Outcomes

Data is the measure of outcomes – the proof that new policies result from local, state, and federal legislation are being implemented. Our data-driven platforms are scalable and configurable to address your agency’s specific requirements, policies, and goals.

When policies change, leaders are accountable for implementing those changes. Demonstrable proof is required to show that they’re working and that critical outcomes are being achieved. The public demands transparency – evidence that new policies are being successfully implemented.

At the state and federal level, access to grants is expanding, provided much-needed resources to law enforcement agencies. However, to fulfill the requirements of these grants, careful and accurate reporting of outcomes is critical to measure success. Accurate data also informs public policy that impacts policing – and the availability of future grant funding.

We’re data scientists with law enforcement experience. We have the background and expertise to help your organization evolve – we’ve built our systems with that rigorous approach to data in mind.

A Difference that Matters

We are in a transformational era of policing – and our experience in law enforcement gives us an innate understanding of the moment. Though data is driving some of this change, people with the right experience and vision ultimately make the difference. Do you want to leave all this in the hands of a company specializing in weapons, body cams, and CAD systems?

Among our peers, we specialize in law enforcement personnel management with a uniquely intense focus. Through our research consortium, we bring new research that matters in supporting officer wellness. We know how vital that is to achieve the goals of transparency and accountability.

At Benchmark, we’re making an impactful difference with agencies of all sizes across the U.S. at the municipal, county, and state levels — we’re prepared to help you, too.



On May 25, 2022, President Joe Biden issued an executive order to address many of the issues that have been a part of the national police reform discourse over the past two years. The order, formally titled Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing, and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety, takes action on reform measures at the federal level, where attempts at more sweeping legislation have been paused since late last year.

Executive OrderWhile the text of the order is lengthy, the subject matter and policy priorities reflected in it should not surprise those following the progress of police reform legislation across the country. Much like state-level reform efforts, the order seeks to build public trust through transparency and accountability while acknowledging that law enforcement officers are “frequently call[ed] upon… to respond to social problems outside their expertise and beyond their intended role, diverting attention from their critical public safety mission and increasing the risks of an already dangerous job”.

At Benchmark Analytics, we carefully track executive orders and law enforcement legislation at all levels of government. What follows is a breakdown of what is in the executive order, what’s not, and, most importantly, what the executive order on police reform means for law enforcement leaders and officers.

Federal Policy Changes

Executive orders are a powerful tool for a president, allowing them to bypass the legislative process to enact policy quickly. However, they are also, by definition, limited in scope. The more immediate policy changes required by the executive order primarily affect federal law enforcement agencies. These policy changes impact the following areas:

  • Use of Force: By November of 2022, the heads of federal law enforcement agencies will be required to submit use of force data to the FBI National Use-of-Force Data Collection database on a monthly basis. Furthermore, federal law enforcement agencies under the Department of Justice (DOJ) are required to align policies and training to a 2021 DOJ policy that generally prohibits the use of neck restraint.
  • Internal Affairs: The heads of federal law enforcement agencies are required to develop and implement evidence-based training programs for officers concerning implicit bias and profiling. The executive goes a step further in mandating the agency leaders establish procedures for “receiving, investigating, and responding meaningfully to complaints alleging improper profiling or bias by Federal law enforcement officers”.  The order establishes both a standard by which officers are trained and, crucially, an accountability mechanism in creating a formalized internal affairs process for investigating and resolving misconduct allegations.
  • Training: The Director of the Office of Personnel Management and the Attorney General is tasked with developing an anti-bias training module for federal law enforcement agencies, covering “implicit bias and avoiding improper profiling based on the actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, limited English proficiency, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), or disability of individuals.”
  • Federal Database: The Attorney General will establish a National Law Enforcement Accountability Database in early 2023. Disciplinary data, citizen complaints, and decertification data will be included. Federal agencies will be required to report to this database, while state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies will be strongly encouraged to report relevant data.

Local Impacts

Though the immediate policy implications of this executive are, by nature, primarily at the federal level, the order does make efforts to apply these changes to law enforcement as a whole. Limited by the power of executive action, the order seeks to affect these changes through best practice and policy recommendations and use grant funding to encourage state and local departments to adopt the changes outlined in the document. A few key elements of the policy recommendations include:

  • Developing guidance and best practices to strengthen officer recruitment and retention.
  • Identifying needed resources to enact the officer wellness work contained in the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2017.
  • Supporting state and local agencies seeking accreditation.
  • Clarifying regulations on agencies seeking military surplus distribution programs.
  • Generally supporting, though grant funding incentives, the adoption of the federal law enforcement standards

A Blueprint for the Future

In the absence of federal reform legislation, this executive order has generally been received as a step in the right direction in addressing issues of transparency and accountability in policing. A press release from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) characterizes the order as “a good faith effort by all involved to reach accord without compromising any core values or issues” while also stating “A broader approach to overall systemic issues needs to be a priority of all elected officials.”

With its input from professional organizations representing officers as well as police chiefs, there’s reason to believe that the action items contained in this executive order have the potential to make an impact on both law enforcement and the communities that depend on effective and transparent policing.


As we approach the mid-way point of 2022, we decided to look back at the year – unpacking some of the reform trends we’ve seen so far and exploring what they may indicate about the future of legislative police reform efforts.

This year’s legislation concerning police reform has, so far, been something of a departure from the previous two years – both in terms of pace and the subject of enacted bills. We’re seeing legislation take a more deliberate path forward after an initial flurry of legislation in 2020 and 2021 tackling hot-button issues like restraint tactics and duty to report. This more deliberate approach is reflected in legislation and funding priorities that emphasize mental health, both in law enforcement and in the larger communities they serve. Additionally, a waning “defund” movement has ceded ground to the notion that police need more resources, not fewer, to fulfill their duty to their communities amid rising crime and greater need.

Deliberate Reform Trends

The pace of reform-oriented legislation has noticeably slowed in 2022. As of this writing, 125 bills have passed in 2022 – compared with 366 In all of 2021. Notably, policy changes required by many of these new laws are comparatively minor as opposed to the sweeping changes seen in policing operations in late 2020 and 2021. With the most urgent public concerns largely addressed in previous legislative sessions, policymakers are turning their focus to some of the more fundamental issues in policing.

A significant portion of state-level legislation enacted in 2022 expands mental health resources for officers and agencies, both in direct support to officers and setting funding priorities for community mental health resources like crisis intervention teams. To replicate the demonstrated success of department-based peer support programs, South Dakota, Louisiana, Texas, and Indiana have passed laws in 2022 that provide funding for these programs. Research shows that peer support is consistently among the most effective tools to help officers with the daily stresses of their work and in processing traumatic incidents that may occur while on patrol.

The ‘Defund’ Question

Many in law enforcement have been closely following the political and cultural debate around “defunding police” that emerged immediately following several high-profile incidents in 2020. The notion that outcomes related to crime and policing could be improved with less funding seems to be on the wane in 2022 amid a rise in crime rates seen in many parts of the country. In fact, in many cases, elected representatives and municipal officials are requesting and approving increased budgets to confront an uptick in crime rates.

Public opinion is certainly a factor in the pushback against reducing law enforcement budgets. A survey from the Pew Research Center showed a swing in public sentiment around police funding in 2020, with a majority of respondents stating police budgets should either remain the same or be reduced. When posing the same question a year later, researchers noted another swing in public opinion, this time with survey results indicating across-the-board increases, in some cases double-digit increases among certain demographic groups, in support of increased police funding.

Adding to the urgency for increasing police budgets to tackle rising crime is a consensus forming around a school of thought that believes reversing rising crime rates is a crucial component in the “return to normal” from the pandemic’s peak. Increased crime rates, especially in urban public transit systems, are thought to be a significant barrier to returning to a pre-pandemic way of life in cities. At the federal level, policymakers are urging state and local governments to devote federal pandemic relief funds to law enforcement.

Revisiting Enacted Laws

Roughly two years from the rush to pass reform legislation, especially laws addressing restraint tactics and reporting, there is an early indication that some of these laws may yet be subject to reconsideration or revision. In March of 2022, the governor of Washington state signed HB 2037, which clarifies that police can use force to stop a subject from fleeing temporary investigative detention. Elsewhere, changing political realities are leading to the expectation that new administrations may revisit other state-level police reform laws. Lastly, legal challenges to state-level police reform levels, such as one recently filed in Colorado. Indicate further challenges to these laws may lay ahead.

While it is difficult to “read the tea leaves” of political change and legal challenges, there is evidence that the push for reform over the last two years will continue to be revisited as experience and research add to the understanding of the effectiveness of these legislative efforts.

Though the pace of reform legislation has slowed compared to previous years, it is a mistake to believe that the reform trends are becoming less impactful. On the contrary, efforts to provide mental health and peer support funding are vital to addressing the root causes of burnout and fatigue among law enforcement officers, contributing to adverse events. Furthermore, there seems to be an early indication that legislators are interested in revisiting previously passed laws to improve them by balancing the need for public safety and trust with officer readiness and effectiveness.