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.

Sue Rahr

Building Guardians to Create a Better Community

As a profession, law enforcement has become very good at fighting crime. The FBI stats have proven it over the past several years. Yet, as a profession, we are struggling. And much of it, though unintentional, is self-inflicted. While we have done a great job attacking the disease in the community that is violent crime,…

Chief Andrew Bidou

Community Relations are a Two-Way Street

It was a year ago when I became chief of the Vallejo Police Department. I was proud to join it – the department has a great group of officers and support staff, but like many communities here in Northern California, Vallejo has also been hit with tough times. Not everyone may know it but Vallejo…

Nola Joyce

Inviting Outsiders Inside Policing

In many police departments, I would still be considered an outsider. That might seem striking, given that I have worked in high-ranking jobs at three of the nation’s largest police departments. In Chicago, I was the deputy director of research and development, and while in Washington D.C., I was the chief administrative officer. In my…

Darrel Stephens

Police Errors Are Opportunities to Build Trust

No one likes making mistakes, but admitting to them can be an even more loathsome prospect. In policing though, there is no better way to move forward – not just from the mistake but as an industry as a whole. Recent surveys show that people have less confidence in the police on a national level,…

Jim Bueermann

An Introduction to OnPolicing

As police practitioners advance through their careers, they gain invaluable knowledge about controlling crime and disorder, organizational life, and human nature. While they are still “on-the-job”, they are able to convey what they’ve learned to their co-workers or others through meetings or conferences. But when they retire, most of them lose these knowledge-sharing connections and…

John McMahon

Managing Chaos

If you have been in the business of law enforcement for a significant time, there’s no doubt you have had to deal with some extraordinary circumstances and incidents. I have been the Sheriff of San Bernardino County, California, for three years, and I have definitely seen my share of high-profile cases. Within the first six…

Jarrod Burguan

Strong Relationships and Skilled People Will Lead You Through the Chaos

The day of Dec. 2, 2015 will be etched into my memory for the rest of my life. I’ve spent the better part of my career watching other communities experience mass shooting events at schools, workplaces, churches; the list goes on. On Dec. 2, it was San Bernardino’s turn. It became one of those days…

Clarence Edwards

Race and the Police

Race continues to influence how people of African descent in the United States are treated by law enforcement. Racism has been a systematic feature of American society and all of its institutions since this nation’s inception. Acknowledgement of the role implicit and overt biases have historically played in creating disparate law enforcement practices and the…

Law Enforcement: The New Caregivers for the Mentally Ill?

One of the greatest public policy failures of modern times is the dismantling of our nation’s state mental health systems and the failure to replace them with any meaningful treatment options. The elimination of the mental health hospital system was as disastrous as it was well intentioned. In the 1970’s, when I was a young…