Law Enforcement

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As one arm of the criminal justice system, law enforcement is responsible for maintaining social and public order. RAND research is relevant to many issues affecting law enforcement agencies in the United States, with a focus on public safety, quality policing and community policing, and the recruitment and retention of quality officers.

  • Police continue their patrols as officials begin what they are calling a slow and methodical clean-up and removal of a large homeless encampment along the Santa Ana River Trail in Anaheim, California, January 22, 2018, photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

    Report

    The Law Enforcement Response to Homelessness

    Aug 25, 2020

    Despite lacking the tools and resources to address the underlying causes of homelessness, police are constantly under pressure from business leaders and communities to “fix” it. Some law enforcement agencies are trying new approaches, but they need support to improve these efforts.

  • Facial recognition technology being used in an airport, photo by izusek/Getty Images

    Report

    How Law Enforcement Can Mitigate Bias in Machine Learning Decision Aids

    Jan 21, 2021

    Bias in law enforcement systems that use artificial intelligence and machine learning can cause or exacerbate inequity. Agencies can avoid bias by establishing standards for measuring it, weighing the costs of biased outcomes, and providing workforce development and training in the emerging technologies.

Explore Law Enforcement

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Assessing the Effects of Medical Marijuana Laws on Marijuana Use: The Devil Is in the Details

    This paper sheds light on previous inconsistencies identified in the literature regarding the relationship between medical marijuana laws (MMLs) and recreational marijuana use by closely examining the importance of policy and the timing of when particular policy dimensions are enacted.

    Jan 1, 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

  • police car and yellow tape police line do not cross

    Report

    The Role of Crime Forecasting in Law Enforcement Operations

    Predictive policing methods fall into four general categories: methods for predicting crimes, predicting offenders, predicting perpetrators' identities, and predicting victims of crime. These methods are not equivalent to a crystal ball, but they can enhance proactive policing and improve intervention strategies.

    Sep 25, 2013

  • two binders marked top secret on a desk

    Report

    Assessing the Department of Defense's Approach to Preventing and Deterring Leaks

    The Department of Defense faces strategic obstacles in stemming disclosures. Media leaks have many causes but few feasible and effective solutions. There is a longstanding organizational culture in DoD that treats leaking classified information to the media as nearly risk-free, which suggests to some that the behavior is acceptable.

    Sep 24, 2013

  • Dallas skyline

    Report

    Evaluating the Caruth Police Institute in Dallas

    The Caruth Police Institute (CPI) has been an important vehicle for enhancing leadership skills of mid- and high-level Dallas Police Department officers and creating a more professional police force, according to a RAND evaluation.

    Aug 28, 2013

  • News Release

    News Release

    Greater Transparency, 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.

    Jul 2, 2013

  • Report

    Limiting the Potential for Racial Profiling of Immigration Laws

    Law enforcement agencies should be required to collect data that can be used to monitor the implementation of state and local immigration enforcement laws, to ensure that they are applied in a race-blind manner.

    May 3, 2013

  • A crew member from Station Boston conducts security zones in the Boston Harbor

    Commentary

    The Day After: How Will the Boston Marathon Bombing Change the Way America Fights Terrorism?

    The risk of overreaching in the name of homeland security is great. But the best and most likely outcome of this latest attack would be a measured security response built around Americans engaging anew in their own security, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Apr 19, 2013

  • A cloud of smoke envelopes the street after a bomb explodes at the Boston Marathon

    Commentary

    Boston Marathon Bombings Highlight Need to Measure Investment in Homeland Security

    In recent years, especially following the economic downturn, states, counties, and cities have looked for ways to reduce costs and maintain basic policing services, leading many to question what the investment in counterterrorism and homeland security has achieved for their jurisdiction.

    Apr 18, 2013

  • Chinese Luhu Class Destroyer, HARIBING (DDG 112)

    Journal Article

    China Consolidates its Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies

    The announced plan to restructure China's maritime law enforcement agencies represents an important effort by Chinese authorities to streamline a poorly-managed maritime law enforcement bureaucracy increasingly involved in China's maritime territorial disputes.

    Mar 1, 2013

  • Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meet in Kabul November 30, 2013

    Journal Article

    The U.S. and Afghanistan After 2014

    The year 2014 is a date for transition, not withdrawal, and the international community has pledged to hand over leadership for security to the Afghan government. The war is not over, and American interests in South Asia hang in the balance.

    Feb 1, 2013

  • two CCTV cameras and American flag illustration

    Journal Article

    State Terrorism and Human Rights: An Incremental Tyranny

    Perceived threats to liberty by the military-industrial complex that gave great cause for concern in the past have given way to fears of a security state, which has fueled perception of a perpetual danger requiring endless war.

    Jan 1, 2013

  • A police officer on duty

    Report

    How Can Police Departments Use Lessons Learned by the Military to Develop a Diverse Workforce?

    Lessons from the military can be used to inform police personnel management who are concerned about recruiting and promoting a racially/ethnically diverse workforce: qualified minority candidates are available, career paths impact diversity, and departments should leverage organizational commitment to diversity.

    Dec 10, 2012

  • law enforcement technology

    Report

    Keeping Law Enforcement Connected via Information Technology

    Interviews with an extensive sample group helped to define criminal justice technology priorities at the state and local levels, as well as the means by which these agencies commonly receive information on technology and the effectiveness of outreach efforts by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center.

    Dec 5, 2012

  • liquor and keys

    Blog

    The 24/7 Sobriety Project: A New Approach to Reducing Drunk Driving and Domestic Violence

    Excessive alcohol consumption costs society nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars each year. An innovative program that combines frequent alcohol testing for offenders with swift and certain sanctions for failed tests can help reduce problem drinking and improve public health.

    Nov 15, 2012

  • Commentary

    Short-Term Savings, Long-Term Losses: When Police Departments Respond to Economic Pressure by Cutting Their Forces

    Many police departments around the United States have faced budget cuts recently. Ultimately, say Paul Heaton and Brian Jackson, for police services, as with most other things, you get what you pay for.

    Nov 12, 2012

  • Auto, Fahrzeug, New York, NYPD, Highway Patrol, Objekt, Ort, Polizeiauto, Polizei, tom-hanisch.de, weapon, president, protocol, armed, surveillance, k9 unit, NYPD, united states of america, armored, cruiser, motorcade, police, site, highway patrol

    Journal Article

    State and Local Law Enforcement of Federal Immigration Laws

    There are two sides of the debate over whether or not state and local enforcement of federal immigration laws is effective and appropriate.

    Nov 1, 2012

  • A police officer on duty

    Project

    Center for Quality Policing

    The RAND Center for Quality Policing provides research and analysis on contemporary police practice and policy. The Center's work helps law enforcement agencies across the U.S. make better operational decisions and consistently perform at their best.

    Sep 5, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    Identifying Barriers to Diversity in Law Enforcement Agencies

    Law enforcement agencies can use barrier analysis, a method of assessment aimed at identifying potential obstacles to obtaining resources or participating in a program, to better understand and address the challenge of creating diversity among their personnel.

    Jul 26, 2012