Law Enforcement


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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • News Release

    News Release

    Enforcement of Federal Immigration Laws at the State and Local Levels

    Encouraging state and local law enforcement agencies to help enforce federal immigration laws could help identify out-of-status immigrants eligible for deportation, but may also have unintended consequences.

    Apr 29, 2010

  • Multimedia

    Police as an Investment

    On October 28, 2009, during his last week in office, Bratton visited RAND's headquarters campus in Santa Monica. He and Ridgeway discussed Bratton's tenure, achievements, and obstacles to success, as well as RAND's impact on policing in Los Angeles.

    Apr 28, 2010

  • Report


    Enforcing Immigration Law at the State and Local Levels: A Public Policy Dilemma

    Encouraging state and local law enforcement agencies to help enforce federal immigration laws could help identify out-of-status immigrants eligible for deportation, but these efforts come with concerns about the potential for racial profiling, strained community relations, and improper resource allocation.

    Apr 15, 2010

  • Testimony


    Assessing Drug Control Priorities in the Federal Budget

    In testimony presented before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Subcommittee on Domestic Policy, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula speaks to the scientific evidence underlying drug policy initiatives in the FY2011 budget—including treatment, prevention, and enforcement strategies.

    Apr 9, 2010

  • News Release

    News Release

    Research Demonstrates Quantifiable Benefits from Police Personnel Investments

    Existing high-quality research demonstrates that public investment in police can generate substantial social returns.

    Mar 16, 2010

  • Report


    What Cost-of-Crime Research Can Tell Us About Investing in Police

    Existing high-quality research on the costs of crime and the effectiveness of police—often buried in journals targeted to academics rather than policymakers—demonstrates that public investment in police can generate substantial social returns.

    Mar 5, 2010

  • Report


    What Police Departments Can Teach Us About IT, Organization, and Productivity in the Public Sector

    Police department data from 1987 to 2003 shows that while increases in information technology are not associated with increased productivity, IT investments can improve productivity when they are complemented with particular organizational and management practices.

    Jan 25, 2010

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Providing Body Armor to All U.S. Police Officers Is Worth the Cost

    The additional cost of providing body armor to all law enforcement officers in the United States is more than justified compared to the savings that would be created by fewer serious injuries and officer deaths.

    Jan 1, 2010

  • Report


    Lessons on Police Recruitment and Retention for the New Millennium

    Lessons on recruitment and retention can help police departments create a workforce that represents community demographics, is committed to providing its employees long-term police careers, and effectively implements community policing.

    Dec 31, 2009

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast


    L.A. Public Safety After Bratton

    Just days before the end of his tenure, Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton joined Greg Ridgeway, director of the RAND Safety and Justice Program, in this dialogue about the effect of mounting constraints on city and state resources and the state of public safety in Los Angeles and California.

    Oct 28, 2009

  • Dallas skyline


    Measuring the Performance of the Dallas Police Department: 2008-2009 Results

    Describes the state of policing in Dallas, Texas, based on the results of four surveys carried out in 2008-2009.

    Oct 15, 2009

  • Report

    Cincinnati Police Department Traffic Stops: Analyzing Racial Disparities

    RAND has developed a fair, yet rigorous approach to analyzing traffic stop data for racial bias. Based on five years of data from the Cincinnati Police Department, the approach addresses bias in the decision to stop, flags officers with disparate stop patterns, and assesses bias in search and citation rates.

    Sep 25, 2009

  • Report


    Doubly Robust Internal Benchmarking and False Discovery Rates for Detecting Racial Bias in Police Stops

    Presents a statistical method to flag police officers who may potentially exhibit racial bias when making pedestrian stops.

    Aug 19, 2009

  • Commentary


    The Decline of Racial Profiling

    President Obama called the arrest of Professor Henry Gates a

    Jul 30, 2009

  • Report


    Police Recruitment and Retention in the Contemporary Urban Environment

    Recruitment and retention of urban police officers is a growing challenge in a time of increasing demand and decreasing resources. In June 2008, RAND convened a national summit at which speakers discussed police workforce issues, current strategies, best practices, and case studies of police agencies in selected cities.

    Jun 9, 2009

  • Commentary


    Assessing Mexico's Narco-Violence

    Drug-related violence in Mexico has more than doubled over the past 18 months, with a sharp increase in crimes that can only be understood as atrocities. The executions, assassinations, and decapitations may all seem wanton and senseless. But this violence actually has a purpose, write Benjamin Bahney and Agnes Gereben Schaefer.

    May 14, 2009

  • Commentary


    Opposing View: Keep Arms Off Ships

    Does the provision of private security contractors provide a viable solution to the growing problem of piracy off the Horn of Africa? Quite apart from the high cost — a robust security operation can run as much as $21,000 a day — employing security contractors poses problems on several fronts, writes Peter Chalk.

    May 4, 2009

  • Testimony


    Summary of the RAND Report on NYPD's Stop, Question, and Frisk

    In testimony presented before the New York City Council Committee on Public Safety and Committee on Civil Rights, Greg Ridgeway summarizes the analysis of data on the 500,000 pedestrian stops made by NYPD officers in 2006.

    Apr 29, 2009

  • Report


    U.S.-Mexico Strategic Partnership Needed to Help Mexico Improve Its Security Institutions

    The United States should forge a strategic partnership with Mexico that emphasizes reform and long-term institution building as a way to battle the ongoing drug war and other security challenges that face Mexico.

    Apr 20, 2009

  • Report


    Helping the Los Angeles Police Department Recruit Efficiently

    To help the Los Angeles Police Department achieve its recruiting and diversity goals, RAND researchers offered ways to improve productivity and efficiency in the recruiting process. They identified potential untapped recruiting markets, provided a model of viable candidates to target recruitment and prioritize applicants while still reaching diversity hiring goals, and recommended ways to improve background-investigation processes.

    Apr 9, 2009