Evaluating Police Reform

Background

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, community-based efforts to reform policing accelerated across the nation. Most of these efforts, recommended policing reforms in the areas of tactics (e.g., banning chokeholds), training (e.g., de-escalation), oversight (e.g., civilian review), funding (e.g., shifting and/or adding funds to mental health resources) and law (e.g., relaxing qualified immunity). Various communities have implemented a wide range of reforms, efforts that have mollified current public outrage and demand without accountability for the effectiveness of such efforts.

The Center for Justice Research (CJR) and The Metropolitan Organization’s (TMO) Police Reform Action Team views the reforms suggested and implemented — including those occurring in Houston as a result of the recommendations of the Mayor’s Task Force on Policing Reform — as positive first steps. We have concluded that inadequate attention has been paid to measuring the effectiveness of diverse police reform efforts.  interventions, like national policing reform, require constant attention, reevaluation and investment or the efforts will decline.

Red background with white stripes, resembling a police line do not cross sign.

Benefits of Research

TSU’s Center for Justice Research and The Police Action Reform Team are collaborating to design a comprehensive, data-driven means of measuring the effectiveness of police reform efforts because ‘what gets measured gets done. The system will permit regular measurement and reporting to keep reform efforts focused and provide information to improve results. The measurement system will keep the current goal of achieving policing excellence, avoiding the need for a new ‘crisis’ to spur reform efforts.

A group of police officers in riot gear

Project Lead

Jennier Wyatt Bourgeois, Ph.D.

Jennifer Wyatt Bourgeois, Ph.D

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