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.

James Cervera

Want to Connect Better to Your Community? Just Ask Questions

A few years ago, some of my officers began investigating a shooting in which a guy had disappeared after he killed his wife and wounded his adult stepson. As some of the officers began looking for the man, some kids rolled up on their bikes. “Are you looking for that guy who shot those people?”…

Damon Williams

Policing takes a village, too

Community policing can bring the entire town onto your team. And working together means communication, relationships. No matter the demographics of the department, no matter the socio-economics of the community, relating as people and neighbors changes everything. When I became chief in Mooreseville in April, I wanted to ease tensions in this large department, so…

Brandon del Pozo

Body Cameras And Privacy — Where Do You Draw The Line?

Since an officer in my police department was brought under suspicion of perjury for statements he made when he thought his police body camera was turned off, some of our constituents have been adamant in calling for a policy that police officers cannot turn off their body cameras at all while on duty. They feel…

Chris Catren

Study Tries to Disrupt Burglary Pattern

If a burglary has occurred near your house within the week, your home is at an elevated risk for crime. This is a phenomenon known as Near Repeat, and policing and research experts recently collaborated on a program to prevent it. The consequent study just won the Redlands Police Department the International Association of Chiefs…

Tim Hegarty

Harm Reduction and 21st Century Policing

In their recent paper titled Reinventing American Policing, Cynthia Lum and Daniel Nagan lay out a blueprint for transforming 21st century policing in a way that makes the profession more effective in providing safety and security for the public while maintaining trust in the police by the public. Their plan is based upon two guiding…

Tammy McCoy Arballo

Cures Act is Step in Right Direction

Well, it is about time. This needed to happen. For too long we have required our law enforcement officers to respond to incidents involving people experiencing symptoms of mental illness and not given all of our officers the needed training. The many law enforcement officers I know are incredibly talented and skilled at a great…

Sheriff Mike Williams

Community Evacuation: What Works and What Hurts

When a storm like the recent Hurricane Matthew is headed our way, we need to persuade residents to evacuate, which can be a challenge. If you’ve lived in Florida any amount of time, you become your own hurricane expert. You’re always going to have people who think, “It didn’t happen last time, so we’re not…

Ofc Tony Zerwas

A Little Whimsy Helps the Warn-and-Scold

“Don’t speed.” “Wear your seat belt.” “Don’t drink and drive.” Have you heard this before? Traditional messages similar to these are posted on law enforcement social media pages on a daily basis throughout the country. The messages are well intended, but have been repeated so much that they often fall on deaf ears. As law…

Sean Thuilliez

The Importance of Shop with a Cop

My family and I had just driven 9-year-old Indicta from our police station to the local Walmart for our annual Shop with a Cop. We climbed out of my unmarked vehicle, preparing to join with the other 39 cop-and-child combos to go and find perfect holiday gifts for all of the kids, who come from…

Tim Hegarty

Deadly Force Encounters and Difficult Conversations

With each new police deadly force encounter, regardless of the circumstances, the opposing sides are becoming more polarized, as if some critical mass is building in the space between. One of the primary forces behind this mass is the concept of blame. Stone, Patton and Heen explain in their book “Difficult Conversations” that blame accomplishes…

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri

Pre-Arrest Diversion Programs: The Future of Policing

People make mistakes. They do stupid things. Sometimes they make bad choices because they are down on their luck and don’t feel they have another option. But it is important to realize there is a big difference between bad people who do bad things that hurt people and good people who make an error in…

Tammy McCoy Arballo

It’s Not Weak to Feel Psychological Trauma – It’s Human

Being courageous does not mean you are not afraid. Courageous people are afraid, but fear does not stop them from confronting danger. I have been thinking about courage and danger a great deal as the first anniversary of the San Bernardino terrorist attack neared. We saw a tremendous amount of courage from the men and…

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…