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 vehicles at night, photo by MattGush/Getty Images

    Q&A

    Reducing Police Violence: Q&A with Melissa Labriola

    A succession of high-profile police killings has prompted some departments and communities to seek change. But data is sparse, and research is thin. Melissa Labriola helped lead a study of police violence and developed a road map for future research that could move the field forward.

    Sep 1, 2022

  • Members of the NYPD gather at the entrance of the Museum of Modern Art after an alleged multiple stabbing incident, in New York, March 12, 2022, photo by Andrew Kelly/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Support Do Officers Need to Perform at Their Peak?

    Police1's second annual survey on “What Cops Want” shows both major strengths and substantial challenges in the profession. Law enforcement leadership can use the findings to better support and engage their officers.

    Jun 14, 2022

Explore Law Enforcement

  • A police officer poses with a body-worn camera on his chest in Colorado Springs, April 21, 2015

    Testimony

    Strengthening Trust Between Police and the Public in an Era of Increasing Transparency

    The United States faces the challenge of improving police-community relationships in an evolving information environment. Congress has important opportunities to help both parties build sustainable trust amid increasing transparency.

    Oct 6, 2015

  • Police officer standing outside his vehicle

    Journal Article

    Police Officers Face Risk of Traffic Injuries Under Many Conditions

    Vehicle crashes are the largest cause of death among police in the United States. Knowing the risk factors can help law enforcement agencies take steps to lower the risk of injury collisions, such as restricting motorcycle use to situations where the use of other vehicles is not feasible.

    Sep 14, 2015

  • Police handcuffs on a computer keyboard

    Report

    Improving Information-Sharing Across Law Enforcement

    Progress has been made on information-sharing efforts within law enforcement. But there are limitations to existing technology and policy. Stakeholders can take action to build on this progress in both the short and long term.

    Sep 4, 2015

  • News Release

    News Release

    Police Officers Face Risk of Traffic Injuries Under Many Conditions, Including When Cars Are Stopped

    Vehicle crashes are the largest cause of death among police in the U.S. Understanding the risk factors can help law enforcement agencies take steps to lower the risk of injury collisions, such as restricting motorcycle use to situations where the use of other vehicles is not feasible.

    Sep 1, 2015

  • Terry Lenzer

    Content

    The Lenzner-Coleman Challenge Fund for Criminal Justice Research

    After a 50-year career as a lawyer and investigator, Terry Lenzner launched the Lenzner-Coleman Challenge Fund for Criminal Justice Research in response to events highlighting fractures in police-community relations.

    Aug 31, 2015

  • Handcuffs on a computer keyboard

    Announcement

    Law Enforcement Cyber Center: A New Internet Resource for Combating Cybercrime

    The Law Enforcement Cyber Center provides vital information and resources to police chiefs, police officers, cybercrime investigators, and prosecutors.

    Aug 11, 2015

  • A wooden gavel

    Commentary

    In the Interest of Justice

    As the line between criminal justice and national security continues to blur, K. Jack Riley offers three principles that can help young criminology practitioners and scholars.

    Jun 26, 2015

  • A worker tends to cannabis plants at a medical marijuana plantation near the northern Israeli city of Safed

    Commentary

    The 10 Ps of Marijuana Legalization

    Marijuana policy is a growing topic of discussion, and laws are starting to change. Ten choices confronting jurisdictions considering legalization cover many of the critical decisions that will determine whether removing prohibition is a good idea.

    Jun 22, 2015

  • News Release

    News Release

    Companies Are Making Cybersecurity a Greater Priority, but Hackers Still May Be Gaining

    While worldwide spending on cybersecurity is close to $70 billion a year and growing, many chief information security officers believe that hackers may gain the upper hand in two to five years, requiring a continual cycle of development and implementation of stronger and more innovative defensive measures.

    Jun 10, 2015

  • An information security illustration superimposed over a businesswoman holding a tablet

    Report

    Companies Are Prioritizing Cybersecurity, but Hackers Still May Be Gaining

    While spending on cybersecurity is $70 billion a year and growing, many chief information security officers believe that hackers may gain the upper hand in two to five years, requiring a continual cycle of development and implementation of stronger and more innovative defensive measures.

    Jun 10, 2015

  • 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

  • Gavel on laptop computer keyboard concept for online internet auction or legal assistance

    Report

    Digital Evidence and the U.S. Criminal Justice System

    There are significant challenges to successfully using digital evidence in criminal prosecutions. Through structured interaction with police digital forensic experts, prosecuting attorneys, a privacy advocate, and industry representatives, researchers identified and prioritized specific needs to improve utilization of digital evidence in criminal justice.

    Apr 20, 2015

  • Tool

    Interactive Tool for Ranking Digital Evidence Needs

    This tool presents the prioritized needs related to digital evidence collection, management, analysis, and use and allows the user to see how their priorities would change when the importance of different digital evidence objectives are changed.

    Apr 20, 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

  • A police officer points a spotlight at a group of demonstrators near Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014

    Report

    Visions of Law Enforcement Technology in the Future

    The Law Enforcement Futuring Workshop identified ten possible future scenarios and 30 high-priority technology needs for law enforcement based on consideration of current and future trends in society, technology, and law enforcement.

    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

  • 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