OnPolicing Blog

Welcome to the OnPolicing Series

OnPolicing captures the thoughts of some of the country’s most important voices on contemporary policing. It is intended to stimulate debate about the state of policing and the myriad of challenges involved in controlling crime, disorder, and terrorism in a democracy like ours. The opinions are the authors’ own and may not represent the official position of the National Police Foundation. All comments are welcome—especially contrarian ones. We reserve the right to remove hateful or profane posts.

Please refer to the essay entitled "An Introduction to OnPolicing" for an in-depth introduction to the series by the National Police Foundation’s former president and founder of the OnPolicing blog, Jim Bueermann. If you would like to contribute to the OnPolicing series, please send your 500-1000 word essay to info@policefoundation.org.

Ivonne Roman

When Strategies Cause Unintended Harm

Policing is a fast-paced environment as departments are consistently responding to community demands for service and chiefs are consistently responding to crime trends.  As strategies are implemented though, too often, its impacts are assessed based on weekly or monthly comparisons for crime, yet little thought is given to possible blow-back effects, or to the unintended…

Cameron McLay

Policing, Quo Vadis?

It is said that St. Peter was fleeing the City of Rome to escape persecution by the government when he met the resurrected Jesus walking the other way, toward the City. “Quo Vadis Domine?”—Where are you going, Lord?  asked Peter. In reply, Jesus explained he was returning to Rome to be crucified again. His work…

Kevin Fray

Ransomware and cyberattacks are not going away anytime soon—here is how to protect your agency

In 2019, government organizations were the intended targets of nearly two-thirds of all known ransomware attacks in the United States.[1] While many of these events go unreported, at least 70 state and local governments are known to have been attacked last year alone, representing a notable uptick from prior years.[2] Ransomware attacks generally take the…

Iwashita-Vaught

Police data behind the pandemic response: policing through COVID-19

Despite the challenges that exposures to the coronavirus (COVID-19) present to police operations, agencies around the nation continue to respond to public safety issues in our communities. According to the National Police Foundation’s (NPF’s) Law Enforcement Impact Dashboard, thousands of law enforcement officers across the country have been exposed to COVID-19. As members continue to…

Stanek

Confronting COVID-19: Strong Leadership, Honest Assessments, Utilizing Available Resources, Communication, and Education

No level of planning could have fully prepared us for the difficult news coming from our nation’s jails and correctional facilities.  Heightened levels of contagion, and the associated stress and anxiety are impacting our medical, security, and behavioral health staff that work in these facilities as well as those in custody. What more can we…

John Perez

COVID-19 is ‘taxing on police chiefs’ but policing profession’s ‘strong mindset’, ‘public cooperation’, and ‘communication’ is going ‘incredibly well’

As Chief of Police in the City of Pasadena (CA), I, along with all of my other colleagues in law enforcement, am responsible for guiding our police agency in this difficult time, as well as provide public safety services during the COVID-19 pandemic. This national emergency is unlike any other emergency or crisis law enforcement…

What Chiefs Can Do Today About Impending Officer Shortages

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, many leaders are coping with the impact of officers in their organization being on quarantine, hospitalized, or simply calling in sick. This is occurring against a backdrop in which many agencies are struggling to achieve full staffing. The forecast from many police futurists, however, is that this situation…

Facial Recognition Technology Deployment and Mass Surveillance in London

Having the authority to do something doesn’t always mean that we should. That’s the thought that came to mind when reading the news of the London Metropolitan Police’s recent deployment of facial recognition technology in east London. While some may say we should “mind our own business” and not worry about what the Met does…

Burke Brownfeld

“The End of Killing”: A Conversation with Axon CEO and Author, Rick Smith

Rick Smith wants to put an end to sanctioned killing. This sounds like an ambitious goal, but the CEO of Axon (previously Taser) and author of the book, “The End of Killing,” has both a vision and a strategy to make this goal a reality. Ultimately, Rick wants police officers and soldiers to have more…

Burke Brownfeld

Innovating with Police Recruit Training: How I used the documentary Charm City to teach Baltimore Police

Why Make the Film “Charm City?” Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Black Lives Matter. Blue Lives Matter. In 2014 and 2015 we became familiar with these names, incidents, and hashtags. The news outlets flooded our tv screens with divisive arguments on all sides of the issues related to police and community relations. We all remember the…

Gordon Ramsay

Transparency that matters: Releasing the right information at the right time following an OIS incident

Throughout my tenure as Chief of Police, in Duluth as well as Wichita, I’ve taken pride in my strong belief and commitment to working together with the community. In order for our relationship to be and remain effective, it is essential that we work closely together and that we do so on the basis of…

Jeremiah Johnson

Co-opting the Police: What can be done about “Profiling by Proxy?”

More than 50 years ago, James Q. Wilson noted that, “As the urban poor and the big-city police increasingly come into conflict, it is the patrolman who is on the grinding edge1.” Wilson’s imagery brings to bear an uncomfortable reality that is neither pleasant for police or the community. If police are on the grinding…

Jane Wiseman

Building a Diverse Workforce in Law Enforcement

A worker shortage is sweeping the nation, and law enforcement is no exception. Across the country, law enforcement agencies struggle to recruit, hire, and retain police officers for reasons that span social, economic, and political…



Frank Straub

Counter-Terrorism After 9/11—An interview with Dr. Frank Straub, Director of the Center for Mass Violence Response Studies at the National Police Foundation

Reprinted with permission from the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) – The Hague. Twenty years ago, Frank Straub was a first responder on the scene of the attacks in lower Manhattan. Looking back, we go…



Dean Esserman

Co-Responder Models in Policing: Better Serving Communities

Over the last 30 years, a growing number of agencies have increasingly adopted police-mental health collaboration (PMHC) programs, also known as co-responder models, to provide an enhanced response to victims of crime or people in…



Lashunda Stateson

Putting Unity in Comm “unity”: Overview of Community-Oriented Policing

“We cannot be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We stand together until the end.” This is a famous quote from the United States’ 28th President, Woodrow T. Wilson. Yet this quote resonates more…



Allen Schubert

Is Your Agency Leading the Charge?

By now everyone with an interest in law enforcement and mending the rifts in our fractured society has seen the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Those who have sworn to an Oath of Office…



Jim Bueermann

Militias and Police Normalization of Domestic Violent Extremists

It is illegal in all 50 states to form unauthorized private militia groups.[1] However, 36 states allow the open carry of firearms at protests. As a result, groups carrying arms and wearing tactical gear at…