“Not Dead Yet”

The National Police Crisis, A New Conversation About Policing, and the Prospects to Accountability-Related Police Reform

This Article argues that, despite the actions of the Trump Administration in cancelling two Justice Department accountability-related police reform programs, the prospects for continued police reform efforts in the immediate future remain alive. This argument is based on several factors, both in the broader social and political environment and within the law enforcement profession. First, the events in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, and the related events that followed, created a National Police Crisis. The crisis created a high level of public awareness and concern about policing and police reform that has already served as a necessary predicate to police reform efforts. Second, the crisis stimulated police debates over American policing and police reform that have coalesced into what this Article terms a New Conversation, involving a rough national consensus about needed police reforms. The New Conversation has already guided a broad series of police reform efforts at the national, state, and local levels. Three principal sources contribute to the New Conversation, which are reviewed in detail in this Article. The three sources include principles articulated by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing; policies recommended by the Police Executive Research Forum, a professional association of police chiefs; and administrative practices embodied in court-enforced settlements negotiated by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. These three elements constitute a “roadmap” for future police reform.

The full text of this Article is available to download as a PDF.