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.

Ken Clary

Utilizing Data and Science to Reduce Serious Injury and Fatality Crashes on Rural Roadways

As commanders within state police and patrol organizations, we are charged with protecting the citizenry traveling on our roadways. Although some might view violations of traffic laws as lesser offenses, those infractions can often lead to death and/ or serious injury if not corrected. In 2016, a total of 37,461 people lost their lives on…

Jason Potts

Enhanced Interviewing Techniques to Improve Memory Recall

What Happened? Who did it? And, where are they now – simple enough, right? Typical questions that police officers and investigators want answered. But all too often, we attempt to rush and control an interview by asking close-ended questions. This drive for expediency can unintentionally reinforce the victim’s sense of inadequacy, frustrate and confuse them,…

David Dominguez

“Peace Officers” Are the Guardians of Our Society

In 2016, our colleague, Executive Director, Sue Rahr of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission wrote on the Police Foundation blog about how law enforcement has become very good at fighting crime; yet, as a profession, we are struggling; I would agree, law enforcement in the United States is at a crossroads with continuous…

Getting Ready for the NIBRS Transition

On January 1, 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will retire the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s Summary Reporting System (SRS). After then, the FBI will only collect crime statistics through the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). We should understand why this is an important move and prepare for it. As local law enforcement…

Allen Schubert

Community Policing and Public Transportation

On July 1, 2017, the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) newly-formed Transit Services Bureau (TSB) and Transit Services Division (TSD) entered into a five-year contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO) with the promise to provide safe and effective conveyance for all 1.5 million Angelenos who commute daily along the 95 miles of rail lines…

Nola Joyce

Technology and Police Operations

Policing technology has moved out of the backrooms of the administration building to the core of police operations.Today police departments are using surveillance cameras, gunshot detection systems, automated license plate readers, facial recognition software, body cameras, drones, and numerous databases to prevent, respond and investigate crimes. The near future holds even more possibilities, such as…

Dean Esserman

The school shootings that don’t happen

Every single school shooting is a tragedy steeped in pain and loss. But for every school attack, there are many more that are prevented. Typically, attacks are averted because someone warned law enforcement or school officials. That can be a potential shooter’s family member, a friend, classmate, staff at school or just someone who saw…

Cameron McLay

The Missing Link in Policing

Leading from the front, the New York Police Department has begun exploring mechanisms to incorporate sentiment analysis — data about public perceptions —  as a component of its flagship performance management system. They are on to something important. The NYPD knows that it matters how members of the public feel about police services. Police are…

Travis Walker

Tactical lessons from San Bernardino attack

Two years ago, on Dec. 2, I was the tactical commander for the San Bernardino Police Department during a terror attack that claimed the lives of 14 people and injured 22 others. Saturday’s anniversary brought back a lot of memories. I am reminded of the first responders who endured the unimaginable sights, sounds and smells…

Jeremiah Johnson

A Hippocratic Oath for policing

The recent spotlight on deadly use-of-force encounters has led John Jay College of Criminal Justice Professor David Kennedy to ruminate whether the field of policing should have its own Hippocratic Oath. The Hippocratic Oath is commonly encapsulated as “do no harm.” Medicine’s Hippocratic Oath has changed form since the days of ancient Greece, but its…

Don Shinnamon

When did ‘community’ get dropped from policing?

When did we lose sight of our responsibility to engage the community in crime fighting?  I would argue it occurred when our sole focus became rapid deployment of resources in response to crime data. Call it what you will, Compstat, Hot Spot Policing, Predictive Modeling, some communities feel, right or wrong, that the police have…

Body Cameras Work – Just Not in the Way You Think

Much has been written in the past few days about a recent study of 2,600 police officers in Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department, which concluded that body cameras have no statistically significant impact on police officers’ use of force. This is perhaps less surprising a finding than some commentators suggest. A body camera might prevent…

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…