February 20, 2024

Immersing College Students in Police Agencies Can Improve Recruitment and Community Trust: Lessons From the PERF-HBCU Summer Internship Program

PERF’s two-year experiment in operating a student internship program found that deeply immersing students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) inside police agencies can positively affect their attitudes about police and their willingness to consider a career in policing. 

To hear more about interns' experiences with the program, listen to the podcasts below.

Episode One

  • Immanuel Martin, Howard University (DC), Prince George’s County Police Department (MD)
  • Eberechukwu Nwanegwo, Lincoln University (PA), Baltimore Police Department (MD)
  • Sam Mensuphu-Bey, Coppin State University (MD), Baltimore County Police Department (MD)


Episode Two 

  • Cierra Isaac, Harris-Stowe State University (MO), Chattanooga Police Department (TN)
  • Taina Harris, Harris-Stowe State University (MO), Washington University Police Department (MO)


Episode Three 

  • Thomas Barnes, Morehouse College (GA), Chicago Police Department (IL)
  • Ayiana Newcombe, Howard University (DC), Elgin Police Department (IL)
  • Jayla Hall, Alabama A&M University, Minneapolis Police Department (MN)


September 9, 2023

Commissioner Danielle Outlaw discusses her experience in Philadelphia, Portland, and Oakland

Danielle Outlaw has held police leadership roles in three very challenging cities. She spent the first 20 years of her career with the Oakland Police Department, rising to serve as deputy chief from 2013-2017.

From 2017-2019, she was chief of the Portland Police Bureau, and she has led the Philadelphia Police Department since 2020. She announced this week that she will leave that agency to become the deputy chief security officer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler spoke with Commissioner Outlaw about why she became a police officer, how Oakland, Portland, and Philadelphia differ, and what she’s learned from her time policing in those three cities.

September 2, 2023

How LAPD Is Using Artificial Intelligence to Study Policing

Pioneering uses of artificial intelligence have begun to find their way into a broad range of professions – including policing. The Los Angeles Police Department recently announced a new research study that will use AI to analyze LAPD officers’ tone and language during traffic stops, which could be used to develop state-of-the-art training. To learn more about this innovative project, PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler spoke with LAPD Chief Michel Moore.


August 19, 2023

Michael Harrison Reflects on His Career in New Orleans and Baltimore

Michael Harrison has held two of the most challenging positions in policing: superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department and commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department. He became a police officer in New Orleans in 1991 and rose through the ranks, serving as superintendent from 2014 to 2019. For the last four years, he has led the Baltimore Police Department. In both agencies he dealt with a high violent crime rate and a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice.

In this episode of PERFcast, PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler speaks with Harrison to discuss his early days in the New Orleans Police Department leading up to his appointment as superintendent of police, the challenges of overseeing departments under consent decrees in two major American cities, and the leadership skills that he looks for in police executives. 

August 5, 2023

What's It Like Being the Police Chief in the Hottest City in the Country?

Phoenix just experienced its hottest month on record, with an average temperature of 102.7°F. The daily high temperature was greater than 110°F for 31 consecutive days, and the high reached 115°F on 17 days.

PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler spoke with Interim Phoenix Chief Michael Sullivan about what it has been like to police the city during this heat wave.


July 17, 2023

In the “Building Public Trust" series, police leaders and community members discuss what’s needed to build public trust in law enforcement and describe innovative ways police agencies are increasing community engagement and trust. 

Episode 1: Distinguishing Your Agency from the National Narrative on Police-Community Trust

In this episode, police leaders and community members establish the foundation for the rest of the series by discussing how police agencies can differentiate themselves from the national narrative by building trust with the local community they serve.


Episode 2: Where We Have Been and Where We are Going: Today's Lessons from the 2016 White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing

In this episode, PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler interviews the co-chairs of the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing - former Commissioner Chuck Ramsey (Philadelphia Police Department) and Laurie Robinson (Professor Emerita at George Mason University, and former Assistant Attorney General, DOJ Office of Justice Programs). They discuss how the national landscape of police-community trust has changed since the Task Force published the report in 2016 and the lessons learned that are still relevant today.


Episode 3: Law Enforcement and Community Views on Building Public Trust 

In this episode, police and community members discuss how they define trust. Police leaders then share how they have integrated these trust building principles into their department’s operations and how they can measure community needs and sentiment.


Episode 4: Challenges to Building Trust and Ways to Overcome Them 

Part 1

In this two-part episode, police, academics, and community members share the challenges they have experienced in building trust and strategies to overcome them. Part one explains why conventional surveys and community engagement programs are unlikely to reach some residents. It also highlights some successful strategies to reach these groups and engage the broader community. 

Part 2

Central to the conversation about public trust in police are the historical and current incidents that have exacerbated mistrust. In part two of this episode, community members and police leaders share how discussing these events can narrow these divides. The episode also highlights successful broader community engagement programs and explains why police and academics should work together to evaluate programs and base them in evidence.


Episode 5: Building Trust with Youth 

In this episode, youth leaders and police share successful strategies for engaging and establishing trust with youth to improve overall community relationships with police, as well as reduce crime.


Episode 6: An In-Depth Look at One Agency’s Approach to Rebuilding Community Trust: Camden County (NJ) Police Department

Part 1
This two-part episode provides an in-depth look at the Camden County (NJ) Police Department, which was disbanded and rebuilt around a community policing model. In part one, PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler speaks with former Chief Scott Thomson, the first chief of the new department, about the state of crime and community trust before the reform and the actions taken to rebuild the department. 
Part 2
In part two, Chuck talks with current Chief Gabe Rodriguez, a Camden native, and Camden community members about their experiences in the city before and after the reform.


July 1, 2023

The Birth of NYPD's Hostage Negotiation Unit with "Talk to Me" Host Edward Conlon

In the early 1970s, following tragedies such as the Attica prison riot (in which 39 people died) and the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, an NYPD chief named Simon Eisdorfer decided that the department needed a system for handling hostage incidents instead of just improvising a response to each crisis. An NYPD team pioneered the use of psychology in saving lives and created a model still used around the world today.

PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler spoke with Ed Conlon, who created the NYPD podcast “Talk to Me: The True Story of the World’s First Hostage Negotiation Team,” about the NYPD's Hostage Negotiation Unit. Conlon is a Harvard graduate who served in the NYPD from 1995 to 2011 and wrote about his experiences in the “Cop Diary” articles in The New Yorker and the bestselling memoir Blue Blood. In 2018 Conlon returned to the NYPD as a communications director.