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

    Research in Brief: Comprehensive Suicide Prevention in Law Enforcement

    Any institution-from workplaces to schools to correctional settings to law enforcement agencies-seeking to prevent suicide must take a comprehensive approach. Science suggests that there are five components that define what such an approach looks like.

    Jul 14, 2020

  • Detroit police line up next to an armored vehicle following a rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Detroit, Michigan, June 1, 2020, photo by Rebecca Cook/Reuters

    Commentary

    How to Reform Military Gear Transfers to Police

    Police officers equipped like soldiers have appeared on the streets of American cities amid recent protests over George Floyd's killing. How should lawmakers reform a program that makes use of excess equipment and is popular with police departments, but that also raises substantial concerns about the militarization of policing?

    Jul 13, 2020

  • Periodical

    Periodical

    RAND Review: July-August 2020

    Feature stories explore what research says about learning loss after extended school breaks; how stress and trauma affect individual and community health; and how a critical care surge response tool is helping hospitals during the pandemic.

    Jul 13, 2020

  • Silhouettes of police and other people, photo by wildpixel/Getty Images

    Commentary

    How to Transform Policing

    The killing of George Floyd and other abuses of power have brought about growing calls to alter how we conduct public safety and, more broadly, criminal justice in America. Evidence shows there is substantial room for improvement.

    Jul 9, 2020

  • Blog

    Preparing for a COVID Surge, Reducing Police Violence, Media Literacy in Schools: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on helping hospitals prepare for a surge in COVID-19 infections, an approach to reducing police violence, teachers' concerns about students' media literacy, and more.

    Jul 2, 2020

  • Police officers stand guard across Central Park West during a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in New York City, June 5, 2020, photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

    Commentary

    From Warrior to Guardian: A Systems Approach to Reduce Police Violence

    Personal accountability will always have a role in policing. But the kind of cultural change that is necessary to prevent tragedy is often best tackled by focusing on the system rather than merely blaming the individual officer.

    Jul 1, 2020

  • A long line of police squad cars, photo by thall/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Funding—or Defunding—the Police

    With calls to reduce spending on police, a question becomes by how much? RAND researchers studied the average amount taxpayers spend for police to respond to a reported crime. These estimates are available in a new tool that makes it easy to visualize police costs per crime by state.

    Jul 1, 2020

  • Tool

    Tool

    Costs of Responding to Crime: Police, Court, and Legal Services

    How much taxpayer money is spent on police, courts, and legal services to respond to crime? RAND researchers provide estimated costs by crime type and by state in a new tool that makes it easy to visualize and download the data.

    Jul 1, 2020

  • A woman holds a placard as people protest outside Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters to demand that the Board of Education defunds school police in Los Angeles, California, June 23, 2020, photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    Commentary

    Defund the LAPD? Garcetti Budget Proposal Takes a Step in That Direction

    Calls to “defund the police” have grown common and urgent in the wake of police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and numerous other Black Americans. Research and community activists agree: Public safety can be improved by investing more public dollars in a social safety net, and less in policing and incarceration, in Los Angeles.

    Jun 30, 2020

  • Blog

    Protests and Police Reform, Facial Recognition, Gun Policies: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on protests and police reform after the killing of George Floyd, facial recognition bans, gun policies that likely reduce deaths, and more.

    Jun 19, 2020

  • Demonstrators march during a protest against racial inequality in Brooklyn after the killing of George Floyd, June 16, 2020, photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters

    Q&A

    Protests and Police Reform: Q&A with RAND Experts

    After the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis and subsequent nationwide protests, the United States is seeing urgent action to reform policing. Here are insights from four RAND researchers who work on policing and community safety issues.

    Jun 18, 2020

  • A woman shocked and upset by something on her phone, photo by AntonioGuillem/Getty Images

    Report

    Strategies for Countering Online Abuse

    Digital platforms that let users interact virtually and often anonymously have given rise to harassment and other criminal behaviors. Tech-facilitated abuse—such as nonconsensual pornography, doxing, and swatting—compromises privacy and safety. How can law enforcement respond?

    Jun 18, 2020

  • Profile with fingerprint on a red background, photo by malerapaso/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Bans on Facial Recognition Are Naive. Hold Law Enforcement Accountable for Its Abuse

    Broader police reform may be difficult to achieve. But in the long run, it will be more effective than any specific technology ban.

    Jun 17, 2020

  • Seattle Police officer Robert Brown talks with protesters as other officers collect evidence at the CHOP (Capitol Hill Organized Protest) area after a fatal shooting as people occupy space in the aftermath of the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Seattle, Washington, U.S. June 29, 2020.

    Multimedia

    Policies to Improve Policing in the U.S.

    In this Call with the Experts podcast, RAND researchers who work on policing and community safety issues share their insights on the recent Black Lives Matter protests and efforts to reform policing. They discuss findings from RAND research, what defunding the police means, and more.

    Jun 15, 2020

  • A man and a woman hold hands aloft during a Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park, London, June 3, 2020, photo by Dylan Martinez/Reuters

    Announcement

    A Statement by Michael D. Rich

    Everyone must do more to eliminate racial inequities. At RAND, we will contribute by continuously strengthening our research and analysis on health, education, justice, security, and well-being. We must examine where these areas intersect, listen more to voices that are too often underrepresented, and integrate the historical and structural contexts in which policies have been developed and applied.

    Jun 3, 2020

  • Crime and the Coronavirus Pandemic

    Multimedia

    Crime and the Coronavirus

    Meagan Cahill, senior policy researcher with the RAND Corporation, describes how crime rates have changed since the outbreak of COVID-19.

    May 29, 2020

  • An ancient sculpture of a god's face superimposed over source code, images by Adolf and kentoh/Adobe Stock

    Report

    How to Track and Disrupt the Illicit Antiquities Trade

    The sale of stolen cultural property provides an important funding source for terrorist organizations and rogue states. New evidence compiled from numerous open sources shows how the illicit antiquities market operates and ways law enforcement might be able to disrupt it.

    May 12, 2020

  • Blog

    Reopening America, China's 'Mask Diplomacy,' State Police Powers: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on a RAND tool that estimates the public health and economic effects of reopening America, China's “mask diplomacy,” using police powers for pandemic response, and more.

    May 8, 2020

  • Police laboratory equipment including blood vials and with evidence bag

    Report

    Countering Drug-Impaired Driving: Addressing the Complexities of Gathering and Presenting Evidence in Drug-Impaired Driving Cases

    Driving under the influence of drugs is a serious and growing threat to public safety. Addressing these cases involves identifying impairment and presenting complex evidence in court. A panel of experts identified ways to address this challenge.

    May 7, 2020

  • Police officers patrol the beach after the closing of all the beaches in Miami-Dade County due to COVID-19, in Miami Beach, Florida, March 19, 2020, photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    Commentary

    State Police Powers: A Less Than Optimal Remedy for COVID-19

    How can the United States face what may be a growing threat of pandemics without having to exercise powers so extraordinary that they not only restrict fundamental rights and liberties, but also damage or jeopardize the economic livelihood of so many?

    May 1, 2020