About the Center on Quality Policing

Policing is widely recognized as one of the most important services that local governments provide. Unfortunately, today's police departments are being asked to do more with less. Decreasing trends in crime and violence throughout the 1990s have recently slowed, and in some communities, have even reversed themselves. At the same time, the threat of terrorist attacks and natural disasters has escalated. These realities have placed unprecedented demands on police forces.

Policing is currently the single most expensive service that local governments provide, estimated to cost more than $36 billion a year nationwide. With city budgets stretched and other funding severely limited, it is imperative that police forces use what resources they have to best advantage. But to date, the federal government has not made any systematic effort to establish cost-effective practices for law enforcement agencies and evaluate the quality of policing.

Sound, data-driven research is an important part of a rigorous endeavor to improve police services in a cost-effective way. The Center on Quality Policing was established in 2006 to meet this need. Its mission is to help guide the efforts of local police agencies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations, manage costs, and where possible, reduce them.

The Center is committed to maintaining the highest standards of quality and objectivity. Our studies:

  • are based on evidence, not anecdote
  • look at data in a comprehensive way, rather than from the perspective of a single individual or group
  • are written in clear, non-academic language
  • provide practical lessons meaningful to police decisionmakers.