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Police Reform Ideas

" ..... and justice for all"


Amadou Diallo (1975 - 1999)

Improving hiring, training, and promotion practices might go a long way toward improving policing. Here are some ideas.

  • Make federal and state grant funding conditioned upon hiring, retention, and promotion policies that are designed to increase diversity in police departments. Ideally police department personnel should reflect the diversity of the community it serves.
  • Create a national and/or state database that record adverse policing or disciplinary records that all police jurisdictions can access for hiring decisions
  • Create national standards for police training. One point that is often overlooked is the Field Training process which is regulated very little, if at all.
  • Create a national and/or state database that show arrest and conviction records, use of force, etc. that all police jurisdictions can access for hiring purposes
  • When negotiating new contracts, mayors and city councils could be more insistent on building accountability standards into the contract that reflect appropriate policing standards.  
  • Train new recruits on when it is proper or improper to obey commands from a superior or a more experienced officer
  • Require law enforcement officers to participate in racial bias or implicit bias training although this article questions whether implicit bias training is effective.
  • Train officers in problem solving, conflict mediation, and de-escalation techniques
  • Train police in "procedural justice." The theory behind procedural justice is that if cops are fair, equitable, reasonable, and communicative then people will perceive the procedures of law to be just. That should make them more likely to cooperate with authorities and to obey the law in the first place.
  • Provide multicultural training appropriate to the communities in which the officers will be working
  • Provide training for working with mentally ill citizens
  • Identify scenarios where there is the greatest risk of manifesting bias such as traffic stops, consent searches, reasonable suspicion to frisk, etc. and train officers to avoid such biases
  • Promotions are based, at least in part, on an officer's record for de-escalating situations and using the least force necessary for the situation
  • Reform personnel policies to make it easier to fire bad police officers. Legal and employment rules in some cities make it very difficult to fire even officers found guilty of wrongdoing.