Daniel Richman and Sarah Seo on Law Enforcement Federalism


Hey l'affaire listeners. Ben witness here reminding you that ads are not an inevitability. There are more than one way for you to help fund l'affaire one way is for you to listen to the ads that we put on this podcast. Another way is for you to go to patriotdepot dot com slash law fair. That's patriotic dot com slash off. Air support us directly and get an ad. Free version of this podcast. You also get access to other cool stuff like our regular weekly law fair live events. That's patriot dot com slash l'affaire which department of any sort can be given sustaining help by outside players is not necessarily a world that we ought to be comfortable with. Then i think over time. It would be very useful to see even greater consolidation of police department. Say it's not exactly a trend but if something people talk about for awhile but it's quite hard to do because local we see is thought to be a right of any township. I'm benjamin this. This is the law fair podcast. June eleven two thousand and twenty one. Daniel richmond and sarah sale are professors at columbia law school. They are co authors together of an article on l'affaire last week entitled toward a new era for federal and state oversight of local police. They joined me in the virtual jungle studio to discuss the article. The history of the federal state relationship in law enforcement how the feds came to play an oversight role with respect to police departments. The limits of that role inherent in the cooperative relationship that law enforcement agencies engage in for other reasons the role that the feds might play under new legislation and the role. That state governments may play as well. It's a wide ranging conversation that takes us to some surprising places including the history of cars. In how the feds came to play a role in prosecuting crime. It's the law fair podcast. June eleventh daniel richmond and sarah ceo on law enforcement federal ism. So i wanna start with the george floyd justice and policing act. Which is where you guys. Start the article. How does this change the federalist balance of america's traditional attitudes toward policing. I think we have to start with the fact that policing is a local matter typically according to black letter doctrine on federal The us government is separate from local matters on things like policing so. That's why we have to. I start and the the proposed act changes that in a few ways. Dante wanna take it over here. Yeah and when we say change. I want to be very mindful of of one. Sure way well-founded criticisms of of this legislation which is that it's small bore. It's incremental on a dozen solve the larger problems etc and and those are all fair points to make. But but i think what our piece highlights is that this really is a change. It's making the federal government really take ownership of what could always have been its role as a partial oversee or of police departments not in a straightforward hierarchical way because as sarah points out that's not the american federal system and it's not our history but federal funds of always been flowing to local police departments yet. They've never been harnessed as as an engine for for reform in the way that the bill starts to do and the federal collection of information again well well established through history with the federal government really serving as an informational platform to help local police department solve crimes in and do do what they will. But now with the national police registry again incremental bound to be criticized but it starts putting the federal government in an information collection mode with regard to policing in particular police abuses. So what does this do. Walk us through. You know exactly how it is a change you know what is this registry and why is it significant even if only incremental. Well i'll start by saying even to articulate the changes being made too. Many westerners seem mike not only incremental but no brainers. The idea that police officers can be fired or or we've under very troubling circumstances from one department then pick up and go to another department. Seems i hope to most people to be something that ought not to be colorado. What the national registry. That is set up by this. Bill does is make as a condition of receiving federal funds. The need for police departments to really step up and to report these officers and even the process of reporting these officers and they're being a national registry doesn't guarantee anything with regard to the hiring of these police officers necessarily compliance will always be spotty in any national system but it starts the process. It really starts turning the battleship of putting the federal government in a position to gather this information and to make local departments account. The bulk more accountable for the officers they hire. That was one piece of the reforms that we talked about in our piece. The other piece of act that we mentioned is encouraging state attorneys general to bring pattern and practice lawsuits in federal court and even Providing federal grants to support those types of lawsuits. So that's another way that the federal government is encouraging oversight of local policing not by the federal government Directly this time but but by encouraging state attorneys general to do that work serves making a really important point that so much of what the federal government is capable of doing and really should be asked to do is only impart going to some sort of direct oversight so much of what the federal government could do is empower and hold states responsible for doing more within their own jurisdictions This is something that historic ways happened in policy spaces and really has not happened until recently and states are starting to step up on our own but this bill is is pushing states or at least enabling states to do a lot more. Let's talk about the history. The federal government's traditional role in local criminal policing is very near zero. And in this article. You guys trace how that began to change and the road that we didn't go down in that regard and so walk us through that a bit. It's funny that you use the metaphor of the road. They didn't go down through. Because the auto del play such a big part in this history. And how it's changed local policing so like we started off with policing a local matter from the very beginning of us history. but as american society became More mobile I with the railroad and then with the automobile Local police departments realized that do their work to attract fugitives to find out whether people have been committing crimes elsewhere. Travelling to different jurisdiction to thorndike's they needed to rely on each other to share information about crime and criminals. This became a huge problem with the mass production of cars and so tried to get together themselves to build a network of sharing information. And that's actually how i a. Cpa the international association of chiefs of police. Which is today still a a big lobbying and advocacy organization for law enforcement. That's how they got their start. In the late nineteenth century as a way to share information among big police departments they realized that their own networks were insufficient to the task. Because this was sharing information and building database based on voluntary efforts was not going to be enough and so they asked the federal government to step in and help them. This is this was the starting point of law enforcement officials realizing badge the problem of crime in federal federalist system of government in a large country where mobility was a given of required more coordinated efforts in the look to federal government to help them just to build on sarah's point what i found fascinating it might be be old hat for historians but what i found fascinating is is the role that wiped supremacy played in the growth of a federal role in law force. Clinton that sounds a widow on a sense that a lot of the resistance to federal authority particularly in the south in the latter part of the nineteenth century and early part of the twentieth been waiting harbor twentieth came from the fear that that feds would be dispatched to interfere with with local customs including jim crow. When ching and other norms that were being protected by southern legislators so so localism was really important guarantor of white supremacy but in an interesting development white supremacy became a vehicle for the extension of federal power. Not with respect. To anti-hunting norms there was no chance or widow chance for anti lynching legislation to pass. But if you look at prohibition the nanak would were as it was called them the white slavery act and other federal extinctions of authority they were ribbon at least in part by concern about african-american criminal conduct that extended beyond the control of the locality and rhetoric about white supremacy became important for for growing the federal enforcement bureaucracy as did commercial interests. I mean one of the things. We also found this. It's not just an interest in in protecting white supremacy that that grows federal power. It's a desire to help insures of cards. And in addition to developing an information platform at the behest of locals the feds ended up or at least. The fbi ended up spending about half. Its caseload doing car-thefts cases that pretty much were for the benefit of of local enforcers sometimes ended up even being prosecutor in county courts. So there is a fascinating history. Always offers multi causal explanations for why things Happened the way they did. And then just provided one a fascinating aspect of what the federal government to get involved in law enforcement so that was one factor The mass production of cars was another factor in all of that. I think it another distinct but overlapping issue. is mobility so a lot of the new federal crimes that were enacted during the early twentieth century. Were criminalising crimes. That were already criminalised at the local level but what they the federal aspect was the transportation interstate transportation. So the man act regulated morals that That the hook for federal legislation was interstate transportation. Theft is a local crime but the federal hug for the dire act was interstate. Transportation prohibition had been criminalized at the local level at in the nineteenth century. But what was different about. National prohibition was a again that reality that people could get around state and local prohibition laws because they were able to transport liquor across state lines and so a lot of us federal laws that Were acted during this. Early period was because of the growing mobility of americans And crime and so a lot of this history hasn't do raise. It has to do with mobility it has to do with material developments the car and so we get to a point in the early twentieth century where the federal government and they don't want to get involved in law enforcement when police chiefs ask them to form a database of criminal information. Congress actually says no but when insurance lobbyists say we we need this law because we need a law criminalizing auto theft across state lines. Because because it's a huge problem that's when congress starts getting involved An interesting way. Even though congress doesn't build an informational platform when asked directly it ends up happening through thin forcement of these federal criminal laws. Let's talk about the car. Because when most people think about federal ism in policing the white supremacy angle is kind of intuitive timid. The car is less. So talk to us about the role of the car in the history that starts with policing being entirely a local matter and ends at least for now in the floyd justice and policing federalization so a lot of this joint research. That dan i idid started from my research into. How cars transformed policing. I looked strictly how it changed local policing and to kind of really evaluate the law enforcement and at the early twentieth century that they needed to modernize and professionalize and to hire more police officers because they were proactive. Crimefighters i i looked at what they were actually doing day to day and i realized how much of what when they were talking about crime. The sensational accounts were about catching murderers and Bank robbers but day to day what they were really doing most of the crimes that they were dealing with were auto theft crimes and audit theft constantly required police officers to have a be armed with weapons and Equipped with patrol cars. A lot of that auto theft work Investing addicts Required paperwork checking a licensed registrations and things like that seems that the that could be done mostly in an office and just checking car repair shops and parking lots. It's so rea defense and there's gonna be a federalism story to this when we looked into it We auto theft was also a huge part of the case. Load of the fbi called the bureau back then before nine hundred thirty four so when we looked at we looked at two why the federal bureau got so involved in auto theft cases and we discovered this really interesting history of mocal officials local law enforcement requiring help in investigating auto theft cases because Costs could be stolen in one city or town or state And then be found in another jurisdiction where they had no authority to go over there and Bring the the fief and to prosecute under states in state court so they had these jurisdictional constraints they had. Financial constraints on extradition was costly and a hassle and so after the insurance bobby groups persuaded congress to pass the dire act mocal Police officers local police departments as well as the insurance companies. That started to look to the bureau to help them. Prosecute these investigate and prosecute these cases and so what the bureau did was to Basically we call these the metaphor of packaging because they would just bring together all the evidence scattered throughout the country that they would find the car in one state and The origin stay. Where where the car was stolen from. Do you want to prosecute can bring gather all the evidence to you under federal jurisdiction granted by the federal logged the dire act and they could gather all of this evidence and bring it to the state. That wanted to prosecuted. Or if they didn't they could prosecute under federal law and so the bureau played this really kind of coordinating role so it in an interesting way. The federal law didn't just give them a mandate to enforce their loss investigated. Also give him a opportunity to help. Local department investigate case says that should have traditionally been under the jurisdiction and to build on on board to continue the story. Sarah just beautifully told what you see in these carcase car. Theft cases is the beginnings in development of interesting information. Economy between the feds in the local is one that really still resonates in the relationship that the federal government has with police departments. Because you know the bureau was always small continues to be small given its remit an. It's concerns it's heavily reliant on local police departments and it needs to win their trust and win their local information and and it gets it over time by doing cases that are primarily rebounding to the benefit of the local local crimes are being saw. Yes does this added benefit that congressional funders looking to impressed by statistics will see a lot of car. Recovery's in cases prosecuted but the bureau becomes so much so dependent as as it needed to be on local departments that it really had a an important incentive to to stay on side with them particularly when from time to time when making the big cases that one headlines going after injure going after other famous bad guys in the thirties and beyond a beer with stuck on local cows and it needed to make up for that and over time you have the development relationship where the bureau is just not that keen to step on the toes of local police departments. That helps explain. Doesn't completely there other factors at work. There are locked in to investigate. Police abuses that certainly was hardwired into the federal government until nineteen thirty nine but even after the roosevelt administration's started to push the feds to do something with regard to local police. They were not fully embracing of that project. And what we see. Now i gripe to think is the overcoming of that reluctance to investigate logo police departments on the part of the bureau and other federal enforcement actors. But it doesn't come naturally to them and we need to work on that at the end of the day from police. Accountability perspective is the federal. Ism the sort of cooperative federalism that you're describing better or worse than a kind of national police force in the national police force model. Which is the model that most countries have at some level. You have no obvious entity to investigate abuses within the national police force but here you have a theoretical answer to that question if there are police abuses in department acts the feds you know have civil rights laws that they can use us jurisdiction to come investigate it but the cooperative nature of the relationships that you're describing actually make that pretty hard and so i guess the question is is federalism a net plus or a net minus or a net neutral from the point of view of police accountability. I think from the perspective of accountability in a world where where there are no safe spaces. One cannot trust in the the oh and commitment of the fed's of states of logos when it comes to looking to police abuses and protecting the rights of those who are being policed and being concerned about the effects of policing on communities. So if you start from the idea there are no safe spaces. I think one embraces a world of accountability where as many players as possible have an interest and responsibility in perhaps stepping on one another's toes perhaps getting into spats that play out in the media dots liberating public discourse about policing the more activity from the more players in my mind. The better so in that sense the federal government will for the reasons you just described at least two starkly not be as keen as exercising oversight role when it comes to local police departments. But they can. They should be held accountable for playing. Overall and in particular states have escaped. I think not exactly scott free but road. We scott free from from what i would like to think. As their responsibility to look to policing within their jurisdiction the kind of the relationship that developed between local police departments the feds as as our suggestion as our article really highlights kind of cut out the states and left them not as other than address that one goes to when one seeks police reform and it was even worse than that not only were. They not be held accountable for driving oversight of police with jurisdiction because they weren't a place of political focus. Police unions got to do quite a lot of work in state. Legislators that put even damper on holding. Local police accountable. So i think we had the worst of both worlds with the state's being partial actors but in a negative sense. And i like to think that with a lot of the focus of reform efforts in the way a george floyd staff and a lot of the effort that the feds of starting to do in putting in holding the state's feet to the fire at least liberating states to do something will make them a third player in this area and they will play well. They will do the right thing. Some of the state efforts right now are actually you know retrogressive. They're pushing back at reform efforts. That are coming out of local jurisdictions so so this season to embrace the grand world where everywhere. All three actors rocking. Wow america's a messy place. But but i think we need to embrace the messiness as as an avenue for a form. Not because it's sounds great because that's kind of the best we can do. Can i add a historical response to bend fascinating question. august volmer as someone who People are getting more and more these days. He's the father considered widely considered the father of modern policing in the united states. He was the police chief of the berkeley police department from started off as the marshall before they established their police department he started off as a marshal in one thousand nine zero five and i believe a few years after the that they devote established the police department he became the first chief retired in one thousand nine hundred ninety two. I believe but he had exerted influence throughout the country. Even internationally he would be invited to consult law enforcement in other countries and he's widely considered like i said as the father of modern policing and he wrote in the nineteen twenties. Starting the lightning twenties said we should have america should have centralized police like they do in europe and he argued for that from the perspective of wanting to reform police departments to make them a not reform the sense that we talk about reforming police departments. Today he wanted to clean out the departments to professionalize them to standardize training and standardized -cations to become a police officer and he thought that that kind of modernizing reform could be best done through a centralizing all operations under the federal government. I think was his preference but starting with the states and i think his motivation to centralize. Everything comes from the same a difficulty that we have right now when we're talking about police reforms to address police abuses. Which is it's hard to reform law enforcement given the reality that there's hundreds of thousands of local departments of all having their own policies and setting their own practices and policies. It's much much easier to enact reform When there's one organization. And so if i to answer your question from the perspective of history through the mouthpiece of amongst fulmer your question was with respect to at least reforming if i remember correctly your your questions with respect to reforming law enforcement is a centralized model better. I think it's definitely easier to get reforms dawn Which was the same reason. Why are wanted to centralize our law enforcement in this country. Just to add a new. Sarah was obviously exaggerated when she said hundreds of thousands of police departments. But but it's pretty amazing but there are you know over twelve thousand police. Local police departments in the united states and to be sure most police officers are not employed by those small departments but there are a lot of small departments more than two thirds of local. Police departments were having populations of less than ten thousand so that all these little departments who not only have have existed for some time but but are celebrated for their responsiveness to local concerns. And and there's obviously going to be some some truth to that but their existence been in so many ways promoted by by what the feds do to them. What the feds do for them when necessary. How do you mean that well. I mean if you're a small police department there are certain things that you can get from the pheasant on not even talking about funding. I'm talking about. You'll be able to use the federal information platform to to get information from departments around the country. You'll be able to in serious crimes. Send things off to the fbi. I don't think really small departments get a regular parade of going to the fbi national economy. But but that's an available place for police officers to go from from any department and this isn't exactly criticism of of a world in which the federal government has played a role in in maintaining the existence of local police department. But it's a potential criticism because he's certainly can see how a non-judgmental federal government and a really has been non judgmental when it comes to the quality of poisoning for the most part will enable these departments to continue even under circumstances where all sorts of vocal pathologies can develop where insufficient training may be caused by the lack of tact space where the lack of the tax base may as we saw in ferguson police department to levy on on the poor in order to fund its own operations and the states have stood by until recently for that to happen as the fat so so world in which a department of any sort can be given sustaining help by outside players is not necessarily a world that we ought to be comfortable. Then i think over time. It would be very useful to see even greater consolidation of of local police department. Say it's not exactly a trend but it's something people talked about for awhile but it's quite hard to do because local policing is thought to be a right of of any township. Yes so what's the right answer to this question. I know this is a hard like ridiculous Liam vicious question to ask a historian and a law professor or in your cases to people who are both historians in different ways and law professors. But i it seems to me that there should be a platonic right answer to the question of what should the federal relationship with local law enforcement. Be on the accountability side. And i think we're all as a society pretty comfortable with the idea that a local law enforcement agency. When it's got a really big case can rely on certain federal resources on the other hand you know if you said the words. Every time there's an officer involved shooting that would trigger a federal investigation. Which would be of a similar variety. I think to that degree of on the accountability side a similar relationship between as exists on the informational side. People would look at you. Like you're headed like was on funny and so my question is without regard to what's politically possible or what congress would do or what would be constitutional in your view. What's the right role for the federal government to play on the police accountability side. I always find it ironic to speak about ophthalmology when you're talking about criminal law or coming on horsemen which which takes its starting point a very sub optimal world. But i think it's a. It's a really fair question. Even if we can get exactly what we want there ought to be some some position were navigating to and some thought given to what that position looks like. So i don't think since. I've said before my starting point is will never get it perfect and we should embrace a degree of messiness where institutions step on one another and end political discourse in political power is access is in the wake of of institutional interactions right but just to clarify. I'm agreeing with you that that's probably the best that we can hope for is to create a kind of separation of powers model of kind of clash of institution versus institution. But i'm saying is that what you would design in the abstract if we didn't have two hundred years of history is that your vision of the good or is that merely your vision of what's the best we can do and if there's some other vision of the platonic good what does it look like. My position is somewhere in the middle in the sense that one of the pieces were weaving out is is local. Politics and luca politics is if a jurisdiction or people in the community. Don't hold official feet to the fire. None of this works either at the federal level or at the state level. So one of the things. I would hope for is the empowerment of vogel politics but but when it comes to how back empowered i do think that will always be a role for the federal government to come in where there are real failures in policing whether it comes to corruption that involves local police or constitutional abuses that implicate the boca police or even not necessarily abuses but but matters a deep concern from a federal policy perspective. That implicate local police. I i don't think we ever want to underestimate the value of the civil rights division and those who worked for it and a role they can play in holding roka police departments accountable and perhaps they will be criminal cases. They'll never be as many criminal cases as as something ought to be brought but there will be some criminal cases they will be struck to reform cases but at a certain point. We just have to recognize that the feds don't have the troops. They don't have the lawyers. They don't have the agents to do the kind of fine grain oversight that really needs to be done for any police department. And that's where the states come in. So i think there will be a role for the feds but they needs to be a lot more role for the states and that could be bureaucratized. You know you could have oversight of authorities within the state something that never really has developed in most states where where people are charged with keeping a close eye on how policing is done in various localities. Not ribbon to solving crimes there. But in a way that to some extent embrace by george floyd legislation looking to make sure that police department are certified to making sure that they have civilian accountability measures. The feds have limited coupes states. Could we have more and perhaps they should be federal funds to do that can be investigating more more shootings police involved shootings at the local level. The federal operation sometimes it would be appropriate but but at least the of spate investigation as occurs in new york and some other states already is something that we really shouldn't brace so that we're not putting all our eggs in one basket when it comes over side but we are very much recognizing that at the federal will always have a critical role to play and should be encouraged to do that. I wanna come back to the question of the role of the states in a moment. But before i do sarah do you have thoughts on. What the ideal relationship would look like. I agree with dan here. The only thing that i would add is you know to remember y leasing not just as a matter of history but as a matter of practical reality why a lot of it has necessarily has to be local in terms of information about a criminal. Activity circulates locally the on community policing today harks back at the reasons why localized placing is a good idea but mcquay spacing is also subject to a lot of abuse and we see that throughout history Especially in jim crow south where the need for national standard was pretty clear. And so. I asked dan here. More layers of Of oversight both state and federal Would be the ideal solution or arrangement. So i wanna talk about the state level because it seems to me that a lot of our discussion of state level stuff right now is being conditioned by a few states particularly minnesota where you have a problem. Local jurisdiction and an energetic state a. g. who you know is a potential oversight vacuum for that problem jurisdiction but i wonder if those cases are actually gonna prove to be the exception in the long run and the much more typical case is gonna look something like taxes or georgia where the most police friendly entities operate at the state level. That is to say. There's a lot of conservative white voters. Statewide who elect quite police friendly statewide actors particularly agents and governors and you have these relatively reform oriented or or at least open to discussion of jurisdictions with many many many more minorities than exists at the state level. So you have places like fulton county georgia or harris county in texas and the force that the state is going to access is over. Them is actually in the direction of not reforming right. Not doing things and so. I guess my question is how promising do you think. The states are as reform and accountability vehicles vis-a-vis local jurisdictions. And how often is it going to be that state. Government is actually the restraint on those things. I think you're you're highlighting the sad fact that as i've said before there are no food safe spaces. Under the trump administration the federal government step back from so much of what it did before and what it now appears ready to do when it comes to bringing stuck to reform cases had in practice cases but even there in so many of those pattern practice cases. If you look closely you see. That bear settled by. We're bro or or progressive steady officials who embrace the federal government's entry into the local round as a way to further progressive agenda. So the idea that any of this happens in a jurisdiction where the politics are really aligned against. Police reform were local federal or state. It is not gonna hack released. I don't know the tools to naked happen. I think the best we can do is is as you quite rightly pointed out. Recognize that that in over history states have not played much of a role and to the extent they have. They have played a role that has retarded police oversight or diminished accountability. But they still have the potential to play that role. And i know. I sound like an awful amelia rest embracing the status cone. I certainly don't want it to seem that way. But there are just a limited number of fires and some people would say what. I'm really doing in a quiet ways calling for the overthrow of the united states. And that's not true. You sure about that. Danny there are a lot of people who you know. Think you're the the secret director of the deep state co i embrace our institutions and the possibilities. They hold even as i recognize that the roles they actually play can be retrogressive in exactly the way that suggested. I don't have the realistic imagination to to put too weird words together to to thank of alternatives besides pushing jurisdictions to do what they can do and to hold them accountable for failing to do that and it seems to me. You're arguing something else which is creating vectors for federal involvement if it's the feds who are reform minded for state involvement where. It's the states that are reform-minded for you know. Political action of a non-legal variety through you know information if it's local police who were reform minded. They would have wandering officer information so they could not hire the direct show. Wtn's you know creating the possibility of action. at whatever level of government. It happens to have the political will to do it. Precisely the only thing i would add. Here is the continuing importance of grassroots activism that ultimately going to make a difference in recalcitrant jurisdictions it's made a difference Recently um so we start our law fair opinion with the the the new act that the senate is considering right now and then we also might a lot of the different states have been doing all prompted by the protests movements that started last year. And what's really interesting and exciting about all of this is that the protest movement has actually gotten several state governments and the federal government to consider structural changes that go against almost a hundred years of history. All hope is not lost. I don't think I think that what's what's important is just citizen of ism and keeping the issue alive and just a final point off sarah's call for sustained citizen involvement. I don't know about sarah but many of my students ask me. Are we in the middle of of the moment. Where where things will really change or the beginning of serious change when it comes to policing in america and i really worry about the idea of moment being looked for this is going to be a sustained campaign and not by by groups by legislators by woeckel departments by city officials to to make things different from the way they were and they were that way for quite some time. We're not turn on a diamond. It's going to take sustained interest on have the right kind of patients not patients that that accepts unjustice but patients that recognizes the need for effort to continue notwithstanding setbacks. I have one more question and then we can leave it on that note. Do we know what the metrics of success of that look like. Is that the is it. The number of police involved shootings or deaths is it related to the number of officers who are charged or the presence of police accountability boards. How do you know if this non moment but this sustained campaign is working. I think that's a fantastic question to put it in a slightly limited sons one of the challenges that have dog toys. Reform over time is that we have metrics for so many things Forcement and as as you often hear what you expect. You inspect in other words or what. You inspect Should expect you here at various ways but the idea that we have metrics for stops. We have metrics for all kinds of things to ensure that police are active. What do we look to to ensure the police are doing the right kind of activity or the right kind of inactivity stepping back when they should not be doing anything and that's bound to be a challenge and we do end up looking so far at qualitative measures. I don't think that that is that is a problem. Necessarily as long as we're not trying to isolate a metric and run with that. I like you're going down. I hurt you going was that it's not just one metric that we need to the way that i've been thinking about your question as as a historian twenty thirty years from now. What kinds of statistics are metrics. Would i be looking for to see if there were meaningful changes and i think what is getting at. It's not just one metric that can tell us are we headed towards the right path or not but we need several metrics. We need a metrics about How many local departments have incorporated national standards for policing We need metrics on the number of pattern and practice cases brought by state agencies and The federal doj acting will still be looking at the number of stops and frisks The number of complaints. And how they were resolved it. Just it's a kind of multitude of statistics to lookout kind of to measure the qualitative changes and see whether this has been working or not and we should become more educated consumers of the statistics. We are able to get every time. There's a police involved shooting or a killing. That is something that is problematic now being vague because sometimes it will be necessary in a in a country that is full of gun touting citizens for police officer to defend herself or offend others but every shooting is something that needs to be stared down and recognized as problematic counting them up is not the end but it should be the beginning for a focus on how we can look to de escalation how we can look to the way police officers respond and maybe even to the extent to which citizens have to be armed. But but that's a i suppose. A different issue published my book on the history of policing choirs talking to various advocacy groups about reforming traffic. Which is the site of a lot of these shootings asked me these questions. are investigative stops effective. Are these types of stops effective. And i tell them you know remake conclusions based on the little data that we have we have data from florida's one where we have good data. But we don't have good data to to know you know what what sorts of things can be doing right now and part of a lot of these reforms should be data keeping standards and regulations It's not a sexy part of police reform. But i do think a more data butter data can help us a lot. Not just with assessing whether we're doing better in reforming the police but also an understanding what more could be done. We're going to leave it there. Sarah ceo dan richmond. Thank you both for joining us. Thank you so much rhyming. Within a pleasure to talk to you. The law fair podcast is produced in cooperation with the brookings institution and this episode. It's produced as well in cooperation with the columbia law school. You need to do your part to promote the law fair podcasts. So get on it us on all socials leave a rating or review where you found us by our merch at the law. Fair store dot com the law. Fair podcast is produced an edited by gen paci howell arm. Music is performed by sophia yan. Our audio engineer this episode is n n right of goat rodeo and as always thanks for listening.

Coming up next