Again and again the data show that people of color in the U.S. are disproportionately, and systematically, stopped, frisked, arrested, and exposed to the use of force by police. Police departments and communities across the U.S. are struggling with these realities and with what has become a glaring divide in how Americans experience and relate to policing. This special collection includes research from nonprofits, foundations, and university based research centers, who have not only described and documented the issue but who also provide much-needed recommendations for addressing this chronic and tragic problem.

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Misdemeanor Enforcement Trends Across Seven U.S. Jurisdictions

October 1, 2020

This paper, which is a product of DCJ's Research Network on Misdemeanor Justice ("the Research Network"), examines long-term trends in lower-level enforcement across seven U.S. jurisdictions:  Durham, NC; Los Angeles, CA; Louisville, KY;  New York City, NY; Prince George's County; MD; Seattle, WA; and St. Louis, MO. It draws both on reports that were produced through partnerships between local researchers and criminal justice agency partners as well as updated data the Research Network has published through an interactive online dashboard. The paper analyzed cross-jurisdictional trends in enforcement, including misdemeanor arrest rates broadly, by demographics (race/age/sex), and by charge.

Overcoming the Challenges and Creating a Regional Approach to Policing in St. Louis City and County

April 30, 2015

In the summer of 2014, Better Together initiated discussions with the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) to conduct a study of the state of policing in the City and County of St. Louis. The August 9, 2014, fatal shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson Police Office Darren Wilson, and the civil unrest that ensued, gave new urgency to this initiative. In September 2014, Better Together and PERF entered into an agreement to conduct this examination and issue a report with recommendations. PERF is an independent research organization, based in Washington, DC, that focuses on critical issues in policing. PERF identifies best policies and practices on fundamental issues, such as strategies to minimize police use of force; developing community policing and increasing public perceptions of legitimacy and procedural justice in policing; new technologies for improving police accountability, such as body-worn cameras; and civil rights and racial issues in policing. The purpose of the study is two-fold: 1. To examine how policing services are currently being delivered in St. Louis County/City, assess the state of police-community relations, and compare the status quo with best practices in the policing profession. 2. To provide recommendations for moving forward, including identifying policing models and operational options to improve policing in the region.

Reform Strategies