OnPolicing Blog

Welcome to the OnPolicing Series

OnPolicing captures the thoughts of some of the country’s most important voices on contemporary policing. It is intended to stimulate debate about the state of policing and the myriad of challenges involved in controlling crime, disorder, and terrorism in a democracy like ours. The opinions are the authors’ own and may not represent the official position of the National Policing Institute. All comments are welcome—especially contrarian ones. We reserve the right to remove hateful or profane posts.

Please refer to the essay entitled "An Introduction to OnPolicing" for an in-depth introduction to the series by the National Policing Institute’s former president and founder of the OnPolicing blog, Jim Bueermann. If you would like to contribute to the OnPolicing series, please send your 500-1000 word essay to info@policinginstitute.org.

Jim Bueermann

The Danger to Policing in Normalizing Extremism

The sights and sounds of January 6, 2021, are etched into our minds for the remainder of our lives and will no doubt be studied and read about for decades to come. This was no ordinary Wednesday. It could be classified as one of the worst, if not the worst day yet, in American history….

Karen Amendola

Developing Evidence in De-Escalation of Potential Use of Force Encounters

Stories about police use of excessive force continue to appear in local and national news headlines. Community-police relationships continue to be strained by these incidents, many of which have been captured on camera and circulated in media. Witnessed and recorded incidents have reportedly led to a loss of trust in the police1 and for calls…

NPI icon

Origins of officer-involved shootings: Analysis of data reported to police via 911 calls reveal opportunities to reduce violent outcomes

Through the cooperation of more than 50 of the largest law enforcement agencies across the U.S. and Canada, our research team was granted access to the most detailed dataset ever collected on fatal and non-fatal shootings by officers while on duty. Covering the period from 2015 through 2018, these data cover over 1,000 fatal and…

Debora Black

Put Your Mask on First—Prioritizing Self Care for Law Enforcement Executives

Thus far, 2020 has produced indisputable evidence of the perils facing law enforcement in the United States and around the world. A global pandemic has taken more than 200,000 lives in the United States including more than 200 deaths of those serving in law enforcement and corrections services. [1] Adding to that toll are stressors…

Jeremiah Johnson

In Policing, ‘You Don’t Know Nothing’—Until You Ask Questions

The late New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra is perhaps remembered more for his malapropistic quotes than what he achieved on the field. The irony about “yogi-isms” is that his words can actually be quite profound. One such statement, “In baseball, you don’t know nothing” likely speaks to the unpredictability of the game. It could,…

Ivonne Roman

When Strategies Cause Unintended Harm

Policing is a fast-paced environment as departments are consistently responding to community demands for service and chiefs are consistently responding to crime trends.  As strategies are implemented though, too often, its impacts are assessed based on weekly or monthly comparisons for crime, yet little thought is given to possible blow-back effects, or to the unintended…

Cameron McLay

Policing, Quo Vadis?

It is said that St. Peter was fleeing the City of Rome to escape persecution by the government when he met the resurrected Jesus walking the other way, toward the City. “Quo Vadis Domine?”—Where are you going, Lord?  asked Peter. In reply, Jesus explained he was returning to Rome to be crucified again. His work…

Kevin Fray

Ransomware and cyberattacks are not going away anytime soon—here is how to protect your agency

In 2019, government organizations were the intended targets of nearly two-thirds of all known ransomware attacks in the United States.[1] While many of these events go unreported, at least 70 state and local governments are known to have been attacked last year alone, representing a notable uptick from prior years.[2] Ransomware attacks generally take the…

Iwashita-Vaught

Police data behind the pandemic response: policing through COVID-19

Despite the challenges that exposures to the coronavirus (COVID-19) present to police operations, agencies around the nation continue to respond to public safety issues in our communities. According to the National Policing Institute’s (NPI’s) Law Enforcement Impact Dashboard, thousands of law enforcement officers across the country have been exposed to COVID-19. As members continue to…

Stanek

Confronting COVID-19: Strong Leadership, Honest Assessments, Utilizing Available Resources, Communication, and Education

No level of planning could have fully prepared us for the difficult news coming from our nation’s jails and correctional facilities.  Heightened levels of contagion, and the associated stress and anxiety are impacting our medical, security, and behavioral health staff that work in these facilities as well as those in custody. What more can we…

John Perez

COVID-19 is ‘taxing on police chiefs’ but policing profession’s ‘strong mindset’, ‘public cooperation’, and ‘communication’ is going ‘incredibly well’

As Chief of Police in the City of Pasadena (CA), I, along with all of my other colleagues in law enforcement, am responsible for guiding our police agency in this difficult time, as well as provide public safety services during the COVID-19 pandemic. This national emergency is unlike any other emergency or crisis law enforcement…

What Chiefs Can Do Today About Impending Officer Shortages

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, many leaders are coping with the impact of officers in their organization being on quarantine, hospitalized, or simply calling in sick. This is occurring against a backdrop in which many agencies are struggling to achieve full staffing. The forecast from many police futurists, however, is that this situation…