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.

Facial Recognition Technology Deployment and Mass Surveillance in London

Having the authority to do something doesn’t always mean that we should. That’s the thought that came to mind when reading the news of the London Metropolitan Police’s recent deployment of facial recognition technology in east London. While some may say we should “mind our own business” and not worry about what the Met does…

Burke Brownfeld

“The End of Killing”: A Conversation with Axon CEO and Author, Rick Smith

Rick Smith wants to put an end to sanctioned killing. This sounds like an ambitious goal, but the CEO of Axon (previously Taser) and author of the book, “The End of Killing,” has both a vision and a strategy to make this goal a reality. Ultimately, Rick wants police officers and soldiers to have more…

Burke Brownfeld

Innovating with Police Recruit Training: How I used the documentary Charm City to teach Baltimore Police

Why Make the Film “Charm City?” Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Black Lives Matter. Blue Lives Matter. In 2014 and 2015 we became familiar with these names, incidents, and hashtags. The news outlets flooded our tv screens with divisive arguments on all sides of the issues related to police and community relations. We all remember the…

Gordon Ramsay

Transparency that matters: Releasing the right information at the right time following an OIS incident

Throughout my tenure as Chief of Police, in Duluth as well as Wichita, I’ve taken pride in my strong belief and commitment to working together with the community. In order for our relationship to be and remain effective, it is essential that we work closely together and that we do so on the basis of…

Jeremiah Johnson

Co-opting the Police: What can be done about “Profiling by Proxy?”

More than 50 years ago, James Q. Wilson noted that, “As the urban poor and the big-city police increasingly come into conflict, it is the patrolman who is on the grinding edge1.” Wilson’s imagery brings to bear an uncomfortable reality that is neither pleasant for police or the community. If police are on the grinding…

Ken Clary

Utilizing Data and Science to Reduce Serious Injury and Fatality Crashes on Rural Roadways

As commanders within state police and patrol organizations, we are charged with protecting the citizenry traveling on our roadways. Although some might view violations of traffic laws as lesser offenses, those infractions can often lead to death and/ or serious injury if not corrected. In 2016, a total of 37,461 people lost their lives on…

Jason Potts

Enhanced Interviewing Techniques to Improve Memory Recall

What Happened? Who did it? And, where are they now – simple enough, right? Typical questions that police officers and investigators want answered. But all too often, we attempt to rush and control an interview by asking close-ended questions. This drive for expediency can unintentionally reinforce the victim’s sense of inadequacy, frustrate and confuse them,…

David Dominguez

“Peace Officers” Are the Guardians of Our Society

In 2016, our colleague, Executive Director, Sue Rahr of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission wrote on the National Policing Institute blog about how law enforcement has become very good at fighting crime; yet, as a profession, we are struggling; I would agree, law enforcement in the United States is at a crossroads with…

Getting Ready for the NIBRS Transition

On January 1, 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will retire the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s Summary Reporting System (SRS). After then, the FBI will only collect crime statistics through the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). We should understand why this is an important move and prepare for it. As local law enforcement…

Allen Schubert

Community Policing and Public Transportation

On July 1, 2017, the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) newly-formed Transit Services Bureau (TSB) and Transit Services Division (TSD) entered into a five-year contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO) with the promise to provide safe and effective conveyance for all 1.5 million Angelenos who commute daily along the 95 miles of rail lines…

Nola Joyce

Technology and Police Operations

Policing technology has moved out of the backrooms of the administration building to the core of police operations.Today police departments are using surveillance cameras, gunshot detection systems, automated license plate readers, facial recognition software, body cameras, drones, and numerous databases to prevent, respond and investigate crimes. The near future holds even more possibilities, such as…

Dean Esserman

The school shootings that don’t happen

Every single school shooting is a tragedy steeped in pain and loss. But for every school attack, there are many more that are prevented. Typically, attacks are averted because someone warned law enforcement or school officials. That can be a potential shooter’s family member, a friend, classmate, staff at school or just someone who saw…