Improving Police Department Practices


Policy 14: Use of Force

There is no single national standard governing police use of force. The Supreme Court established a discretionary standard of “reasonable” use of force in 1989’s Graham v. Connor, stating that law enforcement interactions with suspects must be “judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than 20/20 vision of hindsight.” From a legal perspective, this benchmark makes it difficult to prosecute officers who use force to subdue a suspect, since the standard is so subjective. Read more »


Policy 15: Improved Training

Police training in the academy and in the field tends to emphasize the technical and tactical aspects of policing, with insufficient focus on being community-centered. Balancing traditional training components with a broad focus on working with the community as partners to achieve safety is essential. Field training should support and strengthen community-centered policing practices by including role-playing scenarios that require critical thinking in the face of potential confrontations with civilians. Read more »