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.

Frank Straub

Learning Critical Lessons from 9/11, Then and Today

On Saturday (September 10th), I received an email from Jim Bueermann, my boss at the National Policing Institute. The email’s subject line was succinct: “Is that you in this photo from 9/11?” I opened the email and clicked on the link Jim had provided; I watched the video, and there I was, kneeling next to…

Jeff Hadley

Big Time Trouble Won’t Only Happen in Big Cities

If the past year has shown us anything, it’s that crime and terror on a major scale can happen anywhere, not just in big cities like New York or Washington D.C. There were probably a lot of Americans who had never heard of Kalamazoo, Michigan, before an Uber driver went on a killing spree in…

Tim Hegarty

Community-Led Policing

Current models of civilian oversight explicitly separate the roles of the community and the police in the decision-making process. In fact, most civilian oversight exists to address the consequences of decisions already made by the police. The Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing reinforces this separation by recommending “some form…

Ed Flynn

Chief Flynn Discusses Race and Law Enforcement During Presidential Town Hall

Milwaukee Police Chief and National Policing Institute Executive Fellow Edward Flynn took part in the nationally televised town hall forum with President Obama on Thursday, July 14, 2016. The forum tackled race relations and law enforcement, two issues that have been at the forefront of the nation in recent weeks. Chief Flynn addressed both the…

Ronnell Higgins

If We Open Our Ears and Our Minds, We Can Reconnect with Our Communities

In the business of policing, we often talk about lessons learned. Let me tell you something, from my perspective as chief of the university police, we sure have had ample opportunities to learn some lessons here at Yale University over the past year. Last January, my department came under fire after one of my officers…

Dr. Neeki

Taking Emergency Medicine in the Field to a SMART Level

I left Iran more than three decades ago to escape fanatical religious extremism. As one can imagine, I was greatly disheartened upon seeing such zealotry in my home of the United States that fateful day of December 2nd, when the San Bernardino terrorist attack occurred. I am greatly honored to have been part of the…

Jarrod Burguan

Orlando Tragedy Spurs Memories for San Bernardino Police Chief

With a very heavy heart, I watched the tragic news unfold out of Orlando this past weekend. It was painful for me to hear of the unconscionable loss of life. It made me proud to see law enforcement responding forcefully and effectively to prevent more people from being slaughtered. But it was also an odd…

Jeremiah Johnson

Identifying and Developing Latent Diversity in Policing

The present crisis in policing has gathered the winds of reform, generating important conversations about what policing should look like in the 21st century.  A clear consensus is often hard to achieve given the constituencies involved, yet there is almost universal agreement that our profession can begin to turn the ship around through improved hiring…

Marco Vasquez

Tracking Data is Key After a State Legalizes Marijuana

My home state of Colorado recently released its first study of the consequences of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. What surprised me the most is how much we still do not know after six years of commercial marijuana legalization. The study examined as much data as could be found. But therein lies the problem: No…

Frank Tona

Law Enforcement Leaders Can Learn from Their Rank-and-File

Across the United States today, police departments are dealing with increased public scrutiny as a number of highly publicized events have impacted the law enforcement profession. I have read the various reports completed by a multitude of think tanks, working groups, and task forces outlining ways the police can build trust in the communities they…

Vallejo PD

California PD Discusses Relationship with Community in New YouTube Video

The Vallejo Police Department has commissioned a promotional video of the California city that it serves and protects. The eight-minute video examines the department’s relationship with the community, both the good and the bad, and addresses the need to reconnect to its roots, hence the name of the video — “Reconnecting” — which can be…

Eric Jones

Lessons Learned from Stockton, CA

Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones knows all about trial by fire. Jones has spent his entire career in the Stockton, CA, department, working his way up the ranks until he became appointed as chief on March 1, 2012, shortly before the city had to file for bankruptcy, which led many of his experienced officers to…