Resource: Policing Through an American Prism

By: Debo P. Adegbile

January 1, 2017

Yale L.J.

Policing practices in America are under scrutiny. Video clips, protests, and media coverage bring attention and a sense of urgency to fatal police civilian incidents that are often accompanied by broader calls for reform. Tensions often run high after officer involved shootings of unarmed civilians, and minority communities, law enforcement, and politicians bring different perspectives to both the individual events and broader policy issues. Collaborative reform, however, can build upon stakeholders' common ground- a concern for public safety, liberty, and equality. Achieving this goal requires a symbiotic relationship between the people and the police, where the relationship is based upon earned trust, a concept that dates back to Sir Robert Peel's Principles of Policing and underlies many modern community policing principles. Under the new administration, the federal government may no longer be a catalyst for police reform. Identifying and embracing the common ground will only become a more important path for police reform where individual cities, departments and communities look to chart a more effective path