There’s little evidence showing which police reforms work

Thursday, July 9, 2020 - 07:10 in Mathematics & Economics

When criminologist Robin Engel suddenly found herself leading the effort to reform a police department under fire after a white police officer killed an unarmed Black man in July 2015, she looked for some kind of road map to follow. Instead, she found herself in poorly charted territory. A professor at the University of Cincinnati, Engel had been called on frequently to help police departments around the country manage their response to acts of police violence. This time, the call came from close to home. Campus Officer Ray Tensing, 25, had shot and killed 43-year-old musician Samuel DuBose during an off-campus traffic stop. Engel recommended that the university hire a high-ranking official to oversee the police department and its immediate response to the crisis, and initiate longer term, comprehensive reforms to prevent future incidents. Within days, Engel had become that official, reporting directly to the university president and outranking the university’s police chief,...

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