Criminal Justice

ICYMI: Moving from police “force” to police “service”

June 16, 2020

The Washington Post recently published a column by Christine M. Cole, executive director of the Crime and Justice Institute, and former Washington, D.C. police chief Charles H. Ramsey, founding partner of 21CP Policing Solutions.

Cole and Ramsey address efforts to “defund” law enforcement, arguing resource shifts are needed to move “from a police force to police service.” The two call for routinely reviewing policies and practices against consent decree benchmarks—an effort that would help police leaders determine where existing procedures fall short—and for implementing reforms outlined in a 2015 report by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. They conclude:

“Now is the time for every law enforcement executive and union leader to jump-start necessary reform efforts. We recognize that the pain and anger erupting again in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death have most deeply impacted black communities. We cannot accept these injustices and call for policing reform that acknowledges and addresses systemic racism. We cannot stand for this racial disparity any longer. … Police departments must have an active role in the hard work to repair deep, long-standing rifts in communities and in redefining themselves.”

The Charles Koch Institute awarded a $150,000 grant to the Crime and Justice Institute earlier this year to advance its research on lessons police departments can learn from consent decrees.