Skip to Content

CJI is working to advance the field of policing by contributing to underdeveloped research avenues and cultivating best practices to elevate positive change in the policing sector.

Our policing work focuses on good governance and promotes constitutional policing standards through accountability and data-driven decision-making (a selection of our work is below).

Policing has come under greater public scrutiny due to officer-involved shootings, uses of force, and subsequent community protests. Community concern for racial and ethnic bias in policing has spurred departments around the country to look inward and identify necessary changes to increase community engagement and more equitably serve and protect communities. As police departments continue to evolve, they must find ways to collect and analyze available data to create policies, strategies, and tactics that both improve public safety and increase community trust. Building on its many years of criminal justice experience, CJI is in a position to link policing practice with research and data by translating evidence-based research into realistic solutions that can work effectively for police agencies.

CJI works with a wide range of agencies and funders across the country, including:

  • 21CP Solutions
  • Baltimore Police Department
  • Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), U.S. Department of Justice
  • Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University
  • The Charles Koch Foundation
  • Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Nevada
  • Major County Sheriffs of America
  • Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association
  • City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice
  • City of Seattle, Washington

CJI extracts lessons and shares applicable and replicable information while keeping transparency and community perspectives at the center of all of our policing work. When CJI partners with law enforcement agencies, we collect and analyze data, assess department policies and practices, and provide technical assistance. We work with police departments to develop strategies to implement systemic changes and align their policies and training curriculum with evidence-based practices. Our research and evaluation projects inform national-level policy and practice by translating research and best practices and learning from individual departments into valuable and accessible knowledge for police practitioners.

 

A SELECTION OF OUR WORK

City of Milwaukee Settlement Agreement

On July 23, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin entered an order adopting a Settlement Agreement among the parties to Charles Collins, et al. v. City of Milwaukee, et al. The Plaintiffs in that case alleged racially disparate and unjustified stops and frisks. By the terms of the Agreement, the City of Milwaukee, the Fire and Police Commission, and the Milwaukee Police Department are committed to implementing significant changes to policies, training, supervision practices, and the use and sharing of data. The City of Milwaukee hired CJI to focus on achieving compliance with the Agreement and to conduct data analyses. We also serve as a technical advisor and facilitator.

CJI publishes multiple reports each year assessing progress in Milwaukee. Click here for all of our Milwaukee reports.

  • CJI’s annual report assesses progress towards compliance on the specific requirements of the Agreement.
  • CJI’s annual data analysis examines racial and ethnic disparity in police encounters.
  • CJI’s semiannual analyses assess adherence to standards for individualized, objective, and articulable reasonable suspicion in justifying discretionary police encounters.

Lessons from Consent Decrees

Since 1994, several dozen law enforcement agencies in the U.S. have been scrutinized by the federal government after patterns or practices were alleged to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Twenty-one of them resulted in a federal consent decree in which a law enforcement agency was required to make significant reforms. The guidance woven into consent decrees provides vetted, prescriptive, and detailed reforms to policy and practice to ensure police actions do not violate the rights of community members. CJI examined 21 consent decrees, identified the most common issues of unconstitutional policing, and created an accessible resource for law enforcement leaders that includes a tool for departments and stakeholders to conduct a self-assessment. The report, Building Capacity: How Police Departments Can Drive Positive Change Without Federal Involvement can help law enforcement leaders strengthen their departments through a constitutional lens.

Feedback from officers is critical to ensure rank-and-file officers’ perspectives are included in efforts to improve department practices and better serve communities. In 2019, CJI conducted a series of focus groups with line officers to understand their perspective on the reform efforts underway. The nearly 70 officers were diverse in race, ethnicity, gender, rank, and district. A report for the Baltimore Police Department Monitoring Team detailed officers’ concerns about low morale, strained community relations following riots in 2015, confusion about what Baltimore’s consent decree requires, and anxiety that any use of force – even appropriate force – will lead to punishment or dismissal. Officers also suggested strategies to boost morale, including better communication from command staff, recognition for exceptional work, and changes to the way officers deploy in Baltimore.

CJI currently provides expertise for consent decree monitoring teams in Cleveland and continues to work with Baltimore. In Cleveland, CJI is represented on the Monitoring Team and leads the effort on outcome measures – providing technical assistance in tracking and analyzing nearly 700 distinct measures and establishing and overseeing compliance audits ensuring police practices conform to the spirit of the consent decree. Our engagement with Baltimore’s Monitoring Team is to assess outcomes and determine whether and how the Baltimore Police Department is making positive changes to meet Constitutional policing standards.

Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Collaborative Reform Initiative

CJI worked with the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to conduct an evaluation of the Collaborative Reform Initiative (CRI). CRI worked with police agencies to develop long-term strategies to address issues including the prevalence of officer-involved shootings or uses of force and to improve trust between police agencies and the communities they serve by providing a means to organizational and cultural change. We published two reports on CRI:

1 October After-Action Review

CJI co-authored the 1 October After-Action Review, released in July 2019, which gives an in-depth look at law enforcement response to the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. CJI was honored to work with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) on this exhaustive review of the 1 October mass-casualty shooting. The 93 recommendations outlined in this report (many of which have already been adopted by LVMPD) offer guidance for other departments on responding to mass casualty events.

Recent Publications