Task Force Probes ‘New Approaches’ to Policing

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Photo by akahawkeyefan via Flickr

The Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ) think tank has started an independent Task Force on Policing to identify policies and practices most likely to reduce violent encounters between officers and the public, and improve the fairness and effectiveness of law enforcement.

The CCJ says it will take an evidence-based approach to evaluate at least two dozen commonly proposed reforms aimed at preventing police use of excessive force, reducing racial biases, increasing police accountability, and improving the relationship between law enforcement and the communities it serves.

The task force will publish an assessment of each proposal, weighing the advantages, disadvantages and efficacy.

Funding was provided by Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel, a large investment firm.

“We have seen the power of data-driven solutions in improving the safety and well-being of our communities,” he said. “I am proud to support the Task Force in partnering with police and community leaders to enhance the quality of life for all Americans.”

The task force director is Nancy La Vigne, former Vice President of Justice Policy at the Urban Institute.

“The need for new approaches to decades-long challenges was brought into sharp focus this year as protests sprung up across the country in response to police violence,” she said.

“The task force will steer policymakers toward measures that are backed by research and most likely to fulfill the promise of reform.”

Among issues to be examined by the group are hiring and training, use of force, technology, militarization, and officer and agency accountability.

It will also evaluate measures that would shift some current law enforcement responsibilities to social service agencies or community-led initiatives.

Members of the group are:

Houston Police chief Art Acevedo, President of the Major Cities Chiefs Association.

Roy L. Austin, Jr., Partner, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis, LLP; former White House domestic policy adviser.

Louis M. Dekmar, Chief of the LaGrange (Ga.) Police Department and former president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Collette Flanagan, founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality

Walter Katz, Vice President of Criminal Justice, Arnold Ventures; former police oversight official of Los Angeles County and San Jose, Ca.

Cynthia Lum, criminologist at George Mason University and director of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy.

Tashante McCoy, Regional Manager and Founder, Crime Survivors for Safety & Justice/The OWL Movement.

DeRay Mckesson, educator, author and co-founder of Campaign Zero.

Former Philadephia Mayor Michael Nutter, who is former president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Sean Smoot, diirector and chief counse of the Police Benevolent and Protective Association of Illinois.

Sheriff Rosie Rivera of Salt Lake County, Ut.

Additional support for the project comes from the Joyce Foundation and Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation.

The Crime Lab at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy is serving as research partner, evaluating the empirical evidence that will guide the panel’s recommendations.

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