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.

Tammy McCoy Arballo

Cures Act is Step in Right Direction

Well, it is about time. This needed to happen. For too long we have required our law enforcement officers to respond to incidents involving people experiencing symptoms of mental illness and not given all of our officers the needed training. The many law enforcement officers I know are incredibly talented and skilled at a great…

Sheriff Mike Williams

Community Evacuation: What Works and What Hurts

When a storm like the recent Hurricane Matthew is headed our way, we need to persuade residents to evacuate, which can be a challenge. If you’ve lived in Florida any amount of time, you become your own hurricane expert. You’re always going to have people who think, “It didn’t happen last time, so we’re not…

Ofc Tony Zerwas

A Little Whimsy Helps the Warn-and-Scold

“Don’t speed.” “Wear your seat belt.” “Don’t drink and drive.” Have you heard this before? Traditional messages similar to these are posted on law enforcement social media pages on a daily basis throughout the country. The messages are well intended, but have been repeated so much that they often fall on deaf ears. As law…

Sean Thuilliez

The Importance of Shop with a Cop

My family and I had just driven 9-year-old Indicta from our police station to the local Walmart for our annual Shop with a Cop. We climbed out of my unmarked vehicle, preparing to join with the other 39 cop-and-child combos to go and find perfect holiday gifts for all of the kids, who come from…

Tim Hegarty

Deadly Force Encounters and Difficult Conversations

With each new police deadly force encounter, regardless of the circumstances, the opposing sides are becoming more polarized, as if some critical mass is building in the space between. One of the primary forces behind this mass is the concept of blame. Stone, Patton and Heen explain in their book “Difficult Conversations” that blame accomplishes…

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri

Pre-Arrest Diversion Programs: The Future of Policing

People make mistakes. They do stupid things. Sometimes they make bad choices because they are down on their luck and don’t feel they have another option. But it is important to realize there is a big difference between bad people who do bad things that hurt people and good people who make an error in…

Tammy McCoy Arballo

It’s Not Weak to Feel Psychological Trauma – It’s Human

Being courageous does not mean you are not afraid. Courageous people are afraid, but fear does not stop them from confronting danger. I have been thinking about courage and danger a great deal as the first anniversary of the San Bernardino terrorist attack neared. We saw a tremendous amount of courage from the men and…

Ed Flynn

Raising Our Standards Above Criminal Culpability

These days, there cannot be many more difficult jobs than being a cop in the United States. It’s reached such a point that in many ways, I can liken it to being a member of the military, serving overseas in a hot zone. I say that because much like in the military, we in the…

Stuart Greer

Lessons from the Battlefield: A Case for Evidence-Based Policing

As twin bombs detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians heroically rushed into danger to save lives.  The first responders found that they were dealing with devastation on a massive scale but utilized everything available to help those that had been critically injured.  One of the…

Debora Black

Leading Culture Change

“The only thing of real importance that leaders do is to create and manage culture.” -Edgar Schein As leaders of law enforcement agencies, we might well debate the accuracy of Mr. Schein’s statement as we daily face threats to the safety of people in our communities, challenges which threaten the credibility of our organization, and…

Dave Thomas

Law Enforcement Must Regain the Public’s Trust

I write this as an African American male and as a retired police officer. There is so much American history that some of America wants to forget. Quite honestly, we Americans have short memories when it comes to uncomfortable reality or truth that interferes with our way of life. For instance, if I bring up…

Travis Martinez

Solving Crime and Enhancing Community-Policing Using Advanced GPS Tracking Technology

As the crime rate continues to increase throughout California with communities feeling the effects of prison realignment and Prop. 47, law enforcement agencies across the state are challenged with finding new strategies to address community concerns. Several police agencies – including the Redlands Police Department (RPD) – appear to have found an effective strategy to…