Police-community Relations

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Communities rely on police departments to "protect and serve" and the police, in turn, rely on community support and cooperation, but the relationship is not always harmonious. RAND researchers have examined the relationships between law enforcement agencies and their communities in several countries.

  • Police officer maintaining crowd control

    Testimony

    Performance Metrics to Improve Police-Community Relations

    Feb 23, 2015

    Changing the way police performance is measured could prevent issues leading to civil rights violations and poor police-community relations. Should California take the lead to recommend that local law enforcement agencies must report performance metrics?

  • A man holding a 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot' pose and wearing an 'I Can't Breathe' mask outside City Hall, New York City, December 10, 2014, photo by Andrew Kelly/Reuters

    Commentary

    Can Big Data Help Build Trust in the Police?

    Dec 11, 2014

    After two controversial grand jury decisions not to indict police in the deaths of unarmed African Americans, a White House task force has 90 days to provide recommendations for promoting accountability among law enforcement agencies to cultivate trust between police and communities. The timeline may seem impossible, but, sadly, these issues are old and the solutions are well known.

Explore Police-community Relations

  • Police stopping on a crowded street

    Blog

    Examining Police, Community Relations

    The “Strengthening Police-Community Trust” panel held Wednesday at RAND's Pittsburgh offices felt ripped from the headlines, and from the outset the discussion was focused on what the moderator called “the intersection between the community and the police.”

    May 8, 2015

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    Strengthening Police-Community Trust

    In this Events @ RAND podcast, Pittsburgh Chief of Police Cameron McLay joins Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle and RAND's director of Safety and Justice, Brian Jackson, for a conversation about why building and maintaining trust between police and the public is critical for the health of American democracy.

    May 6, 2015

  • NYPD officers interact with pedestrians in Central Park, Manhattan, May 22, 2011

    Report

    Strengthening Trust Between Police and the Public

    Amid recent tensions between law enforcement and the public, three key questions must be answered to build the foundation for long-lasting mutual trust, especially given technological changes that are increasing transparency.

    May 1, 2015

  • Police in formation at a Memorial Day ceremony in Connecticut

    Commentary

    When It Comes to Police-Community Relations, “Expect What You Inspect”

    As the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing report suggests, local governments should evaluate police on more than crime statistics, and police departments and officers should be held publicly accountable for meeting the community's expectations. Adding new dimensions of performance metrics would help.

    Mar 17, 2015

  • Former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson's badge

    Commentary

    To Serve and Collect? Police Department Funding, Effectiveness, and Legitimacy

    Like so many issues in public policy, one of the factors shaping the complex policing challenges facing America—and a potential lever to help address them—is simple and unsurprising. That factor is money.

    Mar 16, 2015

  • Mounted police patrol Hattersley near Manchester, northern England

    Commentary

    Want Better Policing? Bring on the Horses

    Neighborhood patrols by mounted police in the UK are associated with comparatively higher levels of public trust and confidence than patrols by police on foot. Members of the public engage with mounted police over six times as much as they engage with police on foot.

    Mar 10, 2015

  • Report

    Making and Breaking Barriers: Assessing the value of mounted police units in the UK: Appendices

    These appendices include the research tools used by the research team in different stages of the project, as well as additional data referenced in the main report.

    Mar 9, 2015

  • Report

    Making and Breaking Barriers: Assessing the value of mounted police units in the UK

    The Association of Chief Police Officers commissioned the University of Oxford and RAND Europe to develop evidence on the value of mounted police in key deployment contexts, including neighbourhood, football and public order policing.

    Mar 9, 2015

  • Police form a line after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown, Ferguson, Missouri, November 24, 2014

    Commentary

    Progress After Ferguson? Good Ideas Need Good Implementation

    President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing has done a great service by providing dozens of sound recommendations—good ideas that could help avoid another Ferguson. Now we need good implementation to go along with them.

    Mar 9, 2015

  • Police officer maintaining crowd control

    Testimony

    Performance Metrics to Improve Police-Community Relations

    Changing the way police performance is measured could prevent issues leading to civil rights violations and poor police-community relations. Should California take the lead to recommend that local law enforcement agencies must report performance metrics?

    Feb 20, 2015

  • Report

    Positive Youth Development in a School-Based Setting: A Study of the Los Angeles Police Academy Magnet School Program

    Offers a case study of a Los Angeles public school--based positive youth development (PYD) program to examine the extent to which PYD principles are incorporated in school programming and how they relate to a set of youth outcomes.

    Feb 18, 2015

  • An airline passenger stands in a full-body scanner at a TSA checkpoint at LAX in February 2014 after U.S. authorities issued a warning to airlines to watch out for militants who may have hidden bombs in their shoes

    Commentary

    What Research Says About Profiling

    When police take action on the basis of race, creed, or ethnicity it is corrosive, unfair, ineffective, and can stoke the flames of police-community tension. But as we have found from a variety of assessments, law enforcement is best served when it bases its activities on risk—not on personal characteristics.

    Dec 18, 2014

  • A man holding a 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot' pose and wearing an 'I Can't Breathe' mask outside City Hall, New York City, December 10, 2014

    Commentary

    Can Big Data Help Build Trust in the Police?

    After two controversial grand jury decisions not to indict police in the deaths of unarmed African Americans, a White House task force has 90 days to provide recommendations for promoting accountability among law enforcement agencies to cultivate trust between police and communities. The timeline may seem impossible, but, sadly, these issues are old and the solutions are well known.

    Dec 11, 2014

  • flickr_3404985890_b203801f3c_o

    Project

    Assessing the Value of Mounted Police Units in the UK

    Mounted police have been part of British policing for the better part of two centuries but little was known about their work from an academic or practitioner standpoint. RAND Europe helped to investigate both quantitative and qualitative indicators relating to the value of mounted police in various deployment scenarios, in an effort to understand how members of the public perceive and respond to mounted police deployments.

    Nov 19, 2014

  • Mounted police outside Buckingham Palace

    Report

    Assessing the Value of Mounted Police Units in the UK

    Research in the UK shows demonstrable and measurable value of mounted police in various deployment scenarios, but the decision to maintain, expand or cut mounted capacity must be based on the priorities a police force sets within limited and contracting budgets.

    Nov 18, 2014

  • Activists, demanding justice for the shooting death of teen Michael Brown, raise their hands as they are blocked by police from entering the courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri

    Commentary

    In Ferguson's Wake, How a Data-Driven Approach Can Improve Police-Community Relations

    Community leaders and police departments have a responsibility to their citizens to address questions about their policing practices, such as: What are the most significant areas of concern? How severe are the problems? What are the most effective solutions?

    Sep 16, 2014

  • Demonstrators gesture and chant as they continue to react to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri August 17, 2014

    Commentary

    Data Key to Tackling Racial Profiling in Ferguson

    Authorities in Ferguson would be wise to consider following Cincinnati's example in dealing with mistrust between police and citizens after the police shooting of a young black man. The city embarked on a thorough examination of racial profiling by its police force and took steps to deal with the perception that bias was influencing the way police officers performed their duties.

    Aug 21, 2014

  • Israel police

    Report

    Greater Transparency and Accountability Key to Improving Effectiveness of Israel Police

    An approach to policing known as “procedural justice,” emphasizing transparency and accountability, would help Israel's national police meet current and emerging challenges. The force needs to address issues of civil-police relations, benchmarking, performance measurement, and deterrence.

    May 2, 2014

  • a police car pulling over a driver

    Commentary

    Predictive Policing: An Effective Tool, but Not a Crystal Ball

    Predictive policing is not an end-all solution, but rather a tool that must be used in concert with other policing resources as part of a broader anti-crime effort. Used properly, predictive policing can predict the risk of future events, but not the events themselves.

    Nov 15, 2013

  • police, car, cruiser, law, order, patrol, streets, crime, speeders, trap, waiting, lights, lightbar, city, watch, observe, neighborhood

    Research Brief

    Forecasting Crime for Law Enforcement

    Predictive policing is the use of analytical techniques to prevent crime or solve past crimes. An assessment of some of the most promising technical tools and tactical approaches offers recommendations for police and developers.

    Oct 14, 2013