After every tragic death at the hands of the police, America rings her collective hands. Speeches are made. Policies are proposed, debated, and defeated. New leadership is appointed. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
The problems are often blamed on a few bad apples. However, there is a saying, culture eats strategy for breakfast. A bad culture will beat a good cop every single time.
But, here’s the big question. What actually works? What are the proven methods and strategies to hold police departments accountable, and to root out unwanted behavior?
This is an urgent question. As federal, state, and local governments struggle to pass meaningful legislation, we need to understand what works.
How do we actually fix America’s Police?
That’s a question explored by Seth W. Stoughton, Jeffrey J. Noble, and Geoffrey P. Alpert in a recent article in The Atlantic.
The Big Problem with Police Accountability
In the United States, there are more than 18,000 police agencies. Most of these agencies, around 15,000 are financed and managed by a city or county. No one city, county, state, or federal government controls the social contract with community being policed. No one agency sets the legal framework, administrative processes, or the budget.
To change policing, each level of government, from local to federal, has a role to play.
What Reforms Should be in the Federal, State, and Local Bills?
In their article, Stoughton, Noble, and Alpert propose a raft of legal reforms at the Federal, State, and Local level.
At the federal level, they suggest that Congress focus on three objectives.
At the state level, they recommend five objectives:
And, they provide five suggestions for local interventions:
You can find the details in article “How to Actually Fix America’s Police” in The Atlantic.
Learn More about Seth W. Stoughton and Police Reform:
Article: How to Actually Fix America’s Police: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/06/how-actually-fix-americas-police/612520
Book: Evaluating Police Uses of Force: https://amzn.to/3hzrMAp
Seth Stoughton at University of South Carolina School of Law: https://sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/law/faculty_and_staff/directory/stoughton_seth.php
Seth Stoughton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PoliceLawProf
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