November 26, 2022

Giving Thanks and Video from Dallas Town Hall


Dear PERF members,

Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday, for all sorts of reasons. Being with family while eating great food and watching football and classic holiday movies is about as good as it gets. At my home, we each take a minute at the start of the meal to say what we are thankful for — both personally and professionally. 

For me this year it’s a number of things. I’m thankful that I live in a democracy. Despite living in some really contentious times, the American people voted peacefully a couple of weeks ago and democracy prevailed. And I’m thankful that I live in a country that cares about freedom around the world — including places like Ukraine, where our role is invaluable.

I’m thankful for the PERF staff and all those who have worked here over the years. Gifted and smart, with boundless energy, they are the heart of this organization — from the administrative staff who keep PERF operating efficiently to the communications staff who select and circulate the Daily Clips, the researchers who prepare our major reports, the management services team who take on large-scale projects and technical assistance, the executive search consultants who help cities select a police chief, and the staff who run our SMIP and ICAT training programs. They are some of the most creative, dedicated, and hard-working people I have ever known. 

I’m thankful for the members of PERF, who are the backbone of everything we do. PERF’s greatest strength is our ability to draw on the data, experiences, and stories you provide to us; PERF would not have the credibility it does in the field without your active involvement. Our policy recommendations sometimes go against conventional thinking and draw fire from other organizations, but we have always felt supported by our members and the PERF Board of Directors.  

Finally, I’m thankful for the work I have the privilege to do, and for my family’s patience in allowing me to stay at it. If a person sitting next to me on a plane asks what I do for a living, I sometimes wonder how they will react when I tell them. But more often than not, they say something like, “That’s terrific — policing is so important.”

Policing is a very special profession. Every day you go to work, you know that you may have to risk your life to save someone else, but you also know that you can make a difference for someone — helping a person work through a tragedy, connecting a homeless person to their family, or giving life-saving naloxone to someone experiencing an overdose. (This wonderful story sent to us this week about a Frederick, Maryland cop and the person she saved is well worth reading.) And the emotional bonds I have with the friends I’ve made along the way are unlike any other friendships in my life.

Policing isn’t an easy profession, especially now, but at our recent town hall meeting in Dallas, I was inspired to hear law enforcement officials from across the country explain how they are taking on challenges like gun violence and officer suicide. Noted Washington filmmaker Dan Cohen produced a video capturing some of the key moments of the meeting; I’m keeping my message short this week in the hope that you will watch it. 


As I told those who joined in our discussion that day, it’s an honor to serve you. Thank you for all you do.