June 20, 2020


PERF’s First Virtual Town Hall Meeting, Now Available on Video

Dear PERF members,

On Thursday, we held our first-ever Virtual Town Hall Meeting.  I’d like to thank all of our panelists, as well as the PERF members and other supporters who watched the meeting and sent us questions to ask the panelists. My thanks also to our dedicated PERF staff who pulled it all together.

I miss our in-person meetings and look forward to when those can be resumed. But under the circumstances, I thought we had a great conversation online.

A video of the Meeting is available for everyone who wasn’t able to join us yesterday – and for those who may want to view it again.  Click here to view the video:  www.yorkmedia.com/perf/2020/06/18

A reminder: We will hold a second Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, June 30 from 12 noon to 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Additional details will be sent out early next week.  (By the way, in case anyone is wondering, we are doing two virtual Town Halls because our traditional Town Hall Meetings always provided four hours or more of discussion, but everyone told us that four hours is much too long for video events. So we split the event into two sections.)

Thanks again to everyone who helped make the Town Hall a success.   Weekend Clips are at the bottom of this email.



P.S.:  Following is the agenda for yesterday’s meeting, so you’ll know what’s coming next as you watch the video:

Responding to COVID-19: Lessons from the field

  • NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea
  • Miami Chief Jorge Colina
  • Detroit Chief James Craig

Demonstrations following the death of George Floyd: What we have learned

  • Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Assistant Chief Jeff Carroll
  • Baltimore Commissioner Mike Harrison
  • Louisville Metro Interim Chief Robert Schroeder

Use of force: Research and reform

  • Retired Denver Chief Robert C. White
  • Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood
  • Robin Engel, Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati

“Defunding” the police: What does it mean for the future of policing?

  • LAPD Chief Michel Moore
  • Tempe, AZ Chief and PERF President Sylvia Moir
  • Barry Friedman, Professor at NYU School of Law and Faculty Director of the Policing Project


Weekend Clips

New York Times: How do the police actually spend their time?

What share of policing is devoted to handling violent crime? Perhaps not as much as you might think. A handful of cities post data online showing how their police departments spend their time. The share devoted to handling violent crime is very small, about 4 percent.


NBC Bay Area video: Race in America: One-on-one with Police Chief Eddie Garcia

So, is the police department inherently racist? Should it be dismantled? Defunded? Is there a place for reconciliation and reform? Jessica Aguirre spoke about all this with San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia.


NPR audio: What it is like to be a black police officer

NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks with Isaiah McKinnon, Cheryl Dorsey and Vincent Montague, three police officers of different generations, about their experiences being black in law enforcement.


Washington Post op-ed by former Camden County, NJ Police Chief Scott Thomson: As Camden’s police chief, I scrapped the force and started over. It worked.

I was the chief of police in Camden, N.J., when we concluded the most violent year in our history. In 2012, we tallied 67 homicides, 172 shooting victims and 175 open-air drug markets. Children couldn’t walk safely to school. Cops left crime scenes unattended to respond to the next shooting; it was nonstop. Camden was ranked the most dangerous city in the country, with a murder rate more than 18 times the national average. More people were killed in our town of 77,000 than were killed that year in Hawaii, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Hampshire and Wyoming combined.

And police were not always helping. The city needed guardians, but officers often saw themselves as warriors seeking to dominate criminals through toughness. Citizens didn’t trust us, and efforts to arrest our way to law and order clearly weren’t working. As chief, I was handcuffed by legacy work rules and binding arbitrator decisions that made it difficult to hold officers accountable for misconduct or poor performance. I couldn’t even reassign officers on desk duty to the street to suppress spiking gun violence.

So we started from scratch. We let every city police officer go and created a new department with new rules in 2013. By agreement with Camden County, the city ceased to fund its department and instead paid the county to police the city of Camden. We required all officers to apply as new hires (most officers from the old force got jobs, but not all) and committed to a new relationship between Camden’s police and its citizens, around 95 percent of whom are minorities.

It worked. At the end of 2019, homicides in Camden were down 63 percent, and total crime is the lowest it has been in decades. Fewer mothers are burying children, and flagrant drug crime is radically reduced. Here’s how we did it.


Washington Post op-ed by Georgetown Law Professor Rosa Brooks: One reason for police violence? Too many men with badges.

Women make up just 12.6 percent of all police officers. Much of the debate about police violence and misconduct has focused on race while skipping past this stunning statistic. No honest observer can deny that too many American policing practices reflect and contribute to racial injustice, but the focus on racial injustice shouldn’t make us lose sight of the gender disparities that also distort American policing. One simple way to achieve a less violent and more equitable form of law enforcement is to push agencies to hire more women.

Decades of research show female officers can handle hostile and violent suspects as well as their male counterparts, but a 2017 Pew survey found only 11 percent of female officers reported they had ever fired their weapon while on duty, compared with 30 percent of male officers. Female officers were also less likely to believe aggression is more useful than courtesy, less likely to agree some people “can only be brought to reason the hard, physical way” and less likely to report their jobs had made them callous.

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