An analysis of the Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance launched in 2011 by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) at the U.S. Department of Justice has found that the initiative can be a powerful tool to build momentum for reform among police departments facing significant issues that may impact public trust.

Working with the COPS Office, the Crime and Justice Institute reviewed documents and interviewed stakeholders involved in seven of the law enforcement agencies that have completed or are currently participating in the voluntary initiative.

The analysis found that the initiative benefitted participating agencies by helping to organize change, securing expert assistance, and undergoing a third-party assessment. However, just participation in the program is not sufficient. How an organization experiences the process matters and we believe there is much work to be done to strengthen CRI moving forward.

As part of its report, CJI provided the COPS Office with 10 recommendations designed to improve buy-in from law enforcement personnel and increase the benefits from the collaborative effort. The recommendations to the COPS Office include setting clear and transparent criteria and expectations for participation; establishing authentic and repeated engagement with all constituent groups including police unions, community members and the media; and creating more opportunities for learning between participating agencies.

Click here to read the report.