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National Policing Institute publishes new essay as part of the Iconic Ideas in American Policing Series

In his essay, Dr. Dennis P. Rosenbaum challenges what it means to create effective and tangible police reform

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By Police1 Staff

ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Policing Institute has published a new essay as part of the nonprofit’s iconic Ideas in American Policing series. The collection, which began more than two decades ago, features commentary and insight from leading criminologists with the goal of creating thought-provoking conversations around the evolving profession of policing.

In his essay titled “Can We Fix the ‘Crisis of Legitimacy’ in American Policing?“ Dr. Dennis P. Rosenbaum, Professor Emeritus of Criminology, Law and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago, challenges what it means to create effective and tangible police reform. As a psychologist, Dr. Rosenbaum suggests that human behavior is heavily influenced by incentives and disincentives and questions whether a strong enough reward system is in place to truly move officers from the “warrior” to the “guardian” mentality.

Dr. Rosenbaum goes on to explain the importance of standardized data collection and performance metrics that incorporate new measures of the quality of policing as defined not just by a scale but by the community.

“My hope is that someday, we will introduce a national system of procedural justice metrics where the cost and benefits are shared among participating cities,” says Dr. Rosenbaum. “To bring this to fruition, I envision a working partnership among enlightened police leaders, policing scholars, and community leaders. The final products should include a standardized set of metrics and dashboards, along with a range of organizational plans for translating this knowledge into effective, fair, and compassionate policing.”

The Ideas in American Policing series includes more than 20 essays on concepts such as embedding criminologists in police departments, translating police research into practice, place-based policing, and harm-focused policing. One of the most influential essays in the series dates back to 1998 when Professor Lawrence Sherman authored “Evidence-Based Policing,” which introduced a concept still pursued today by policing leaders and scholars alike.

“We are thrilled Dr. Rosenbaum chose to contribute his knowledge and expertise to this National Policing Institute series,” commented NPI’s President Jim Burch. “Many of the ideas and concepts presented through Ideas in American Policing have contributed to groundbreaking dialogue and change around the profession, informing new policies and approaches and strengthening the connection between research and practice. Dr. Rosenbaum’s reflections on police legitimacy are timely and align well with one of NPI’s strategic priority areas: to create better, safer outcomes for every officer and every community member every time. We are grateful to Dr. Rosenbaum for his contributions to this important work and for challenging the profession with his ideas.”

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