PERF and the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) have released two reports on an important development in policing: the growing recognition of the concepts of legitimacy and procedural justice.
In the first report, “Legitimacy and Procedural Justice: A New Element of Police Leadership,” Yale Law Prof. Tom Tyler provides specific definitions of these terms, and summarizes research studies that demonstrate why legitimacy and procedural justice are important to the future success of police agencies.
In short, “legitimacy” refers to the judgments that community members make about whether they have trust and confidence in their police, whether they are willing to defer to the law and to police authority, and whether they believe that police actions in their community are morally justified and appropriate. “Procedural justice” can be seen as a way to achieve legitimacy. Police officers provide procedural justice when do their jobs fairly and neutrally, treat community members with respect, and give people a chance to explain their situation or tell their side of the story.
The second PERF/BJA report, “Legitimacy and Procedural Justice: The New Orleans Case Study,” describes how New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas is incorporating the concepts of legitimacy and procedural justice in his efforts to reform the New Orleans Police Department.
Click on the report titles above to see the full PERF/BJA reports.
On August 21, Israeli Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino and Palestinian Police Major General Hazem Atallah announced that for 18 months they have been holding unprecedented meetings to discuss joint projects on public safety issues in the Middle East. PERF and the nation of Jordan played a key role in facilitating these meetings. Jordan's Minister of the Interior Hussein Al-Majali (formerly Director General of Public Security) was involved from the first days of the initiative, and the new Public Safety Director Tawfiq Tawalbeh is continuing Jordan's leadership role. Also supporting the initiative were PERF President and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, Retired Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan, Chief Terry Gainer, U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms, Las Vegas Sheriff Douglas Gillespie, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly, and PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler. A CBS News story about this project can be seen at http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57599504/middle-east-police-heads-meet-in-effort-to-strengthen-law-in-region/. Click on the headline above for additional news stories about this Middle East initiative.
PERF and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services have released "Social Media and Tactical Considerations for Law Enforcement," a 54-page report that explores the ways in which police are using social media. Many departments are using social media such at Facebook and Twitter to disseminate information to the public about crime issues and police activities. The report also provides information about the use of social media for other purposes, including preventing, responding to, and investigating crimes, riots, and "flash mob" situations. Click on the cover to the right to view the full report.
PERF's new report, "Compstat: Its Origins, Evolution, and Future in Law Enforcement Agencies," traces how Compstat came into being, how it changed as it spread to hundreds of police agencies across the country, and where it's headed for the future. Begun 20 years ago in New York City, Compstat has become a part of the institutional DNA of policing. With support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, PERF launched a project to assess how this happened. We conducted a survey of law enforcement agencies about their Compstat systems, and we held a national conference in which police executives and other experts described their experiences with Compstat. Then PERF conducted site visits in law enforcement agencies across the country, observing Compstat meetings and interviewing local officials. We found that law enforcement agencies have taken Compstat in different directions and to new levels of performance since it was first developed. Few policing innovations have been more transformative than Compstat. Compstat changed how police view crime problems. Instead of merely responding to crimes after they are committed, police expanded their mission to focus on preventing the next crime. Compstat helps to achieve that mission. Click on the cover to the right to view the full report.
PERF's new Critical Issues in Policing report, "Civil Rights Investigations of Local Police: Lessons Learned," provides new information about investigations of local police departments by the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. PERF conducted research on the consent decrees that have been implemented over nearly 20 years, and convened a meeting of officials from cities that have experienced consent decrees, along with members of the DOJ Special Litigation Section. The result is this document, which details the substantive issues - for example, which aspects of policing tend to trigger DOJ investigations - and the procedural issues, such as how DOJ and local officials negotiate reform packages and how they decide when police departments have achieved compliance with the requirements. This report provides the information police departments need to ensure they have the policies, training, and management and supervision systems to ensure a high level of Constitutionally sound policing. Click on the cover to the right to view the full report.
In a project supported by the National Institute of Justice, PERF conducted a national assessment of the state of the field regarding eyewitness identification procedures used by law enforcement agencies. The survey, the first of its kind, gauges the extent to which law enforcement agencies have implemented guidelines issued by NIJ in 1999 that were designed to increase the reliability of eyewitness identifications.
Eyewitness identifications can be compelling evidence in court. However, there has been a growing recognition that eyewitness identifications can be unreliable, based in part on the growing number of exonerations of persons who were convicted of crimes due to faulty eyewitness identifications.
PERF's survey found that law enforcement agencies nationwide have made some progress in implementing the NIJ guidelines for eyewitness identification procedures. However, most law enforcement agencies have not implemented the full range of NIJ guidelines. Click on the headline above to view the full report.