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.

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…

Cameron McLay

The Missing Link in Policing

Leading from the front, the New York Police Department has begun exploring mechanisms to incorporate sentiment analysis — data about public perceptions —  as a component of its flagship performance management system. They are on to something important. The NYPD knows that it matters how members of the public feel about police services. Police are…

Travis Walker

Tactical lessons from San Bernardino attack

Two years ago, on Dec. 2, I was the tactical commander for the San Bernardino Police Department during a terror attack that claimed the lives of 14 people and injured 22 others. Saturday’s anniversary brought back a lot of memories. I am reminded of the first responders who endured the unimaginable sights, sounds and smells…

Jeremiah Johnson

A Hippocratic Oath for policing

The recent spotlight on deadly use-of-force encounters has led John Jay College of Criminal Justice Professor David Kennedy to ruminate whether the field of policing should have its own Hippocratic Oath. The Hippocratic Oath is commonly encapsulated as “do no harm.” Medicine’s Hippocratic Oath has changed form since the days of ancient Greece, but its…

Don Shinnamon

When did ‘community’ get dropped from policing?

When did we lose sight of our responsibility to engage the community in crime fighting?  I would argue it occurred when our sole focus became rapid deployment of resources in response to crime data. Call it what you will, Compstat, Hot Spot Policing, Predictive Modeling, some communities feel, right or wrong, that the police have…

Body Cameras Work – Just Not in the Way You Think

Much has been written in the past few days about a recent study of 2,600 police officers in Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department, which concluded that body cameras have no statistically significant impact on police officers’ use of force. This is perhaps less surprising a finding than some commentators suggest. A body camera might prevent…

Jennifer Tejada

Mindful Leadership

Statistics on police health and wellness suggest police training and support programs have failed our profession. Police reform measures also seem to have overlooked a key ingredient in the matter of officer performance. Policing is considered a stressful and emotionally and physically demanding profession. We have succeeded in training our law enforcement officers on the…

John Rosiak

Five Things to Consider Before Posting Cops in Schools

Cops in schools: It’s a contentious issue in contemporary American society. Some people feel that we desperately need to place a sworn, local law-enforcement officer in schools, in addition to regular school security officers. Others are wary that such appointments lead to increases in arrests, with a disproportionate impact on students of color and students…

Christine Gardiner

How Educated Should Police Be?

Several years ago, I wrote an article based on my dissertation in which I made the comment that Orange County police officers were “particularly well-educated” — many with a bachelor’s or master’s degree. It was obvious to me that they were. I had worked with them in California. I talked to them. I knew them….

Fred Burton

Do Uniformed Police Increase Risk?

Recently, at a speech and follow-up discussion with the global security department of a major multinational company, an interesting and lively discussion ensued over the topic of whether the presence of uniformed police officers increases the risk to a venue or location. The topic was raised in light of the police killings in Dallas and…


CALEA Accreditation – A Platform for Excellence and Reform

The National Policing Institute’s mission is to advance policing through innovation and science. We pursue this mission by consistently seeking opportunities to impact the profession we were created to serve. Many opportunities to impact policing exist – new technologies emerge and evolve constantly.  New tactics and strategies are always debated. New research and analysis on…