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.

Jeremiah Johnson

Identifying and Developing Latent Diversity in Policing

The present crisis in policing has gathered the winds of reform, generating important conversations about what policing should look like in the 21st century.  A clear consensus is often hard to achieve given the constituencies involved, yet there is almost universal agreement that our profession can begin to turn the ship around through improved hiring…

Marco Vasquez

Tracking Data is Key After a State Legalizes Marijuana

My home state of Colorado recently released its first study of the consequences of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. What surprised me the most is how much we still do not know after six years of commercial marijuana legalization. The study examined as much data as could be found. But therein lies the problem: No…

Frank Tona

Law Enforcement Leaders Can Learn from Their Rank-and-File

Across the United States today, police departments are dealing with increased public scrutiny as a number of highly publicized events have impacted the law enforcement profession. I have read the various reports completed by a multitude of think tanks, working groups, and task forces outlining ways the police can build trust in the communities they…

Vallejo PD

California PD Discusses Relationship with Community in New YouTube Video

The Vallejo Police Department has commissioned a promotional video of the California city that it serves and protects. The eight-minute video examines the department’s relationship with the community, both the good and the bad, and addresses the need to reconnect to its roots, hence the name of the video — “Reconnecting” — which can be…

Eric Jones

Lessons Learned from Stockton, CA

Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones knows all about trial by fire. Jones has spent his entire career in the Stockton, CA, department, working his way up the ranks until he became appointed as chief on March 1, 2012, shortly before the city had to file for bankruptcy, which led many of his experienced officers to…

Paul Walters

SWAT Teams can be Front-and-Center in Community-based Policing

Before the recent terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, there were a growing number of people questioning the need for the militarization of police. Seeing law enforcement effectively use a military-grade vehicle while utilizing heavy duty weapons to eliminate the terrorist threat seems to have quelled many of those concerns. But some still question how…

Brett Meade

Recruiting, Selecting, and Retaining Law Enforcement Officers

Ask any law enforcement executive worldwide to list the most challenging internal issue facing their respective agencies, and the vast majority will mention recruiting, selecting and retaining sworn personnel.  The fact is, given the current environment of the policing profession, recruiting the next generation of police officers is more difficult than ever. With the pressures,…

Sue Rahr

Building Guardians to Create a Better Community

As a profession, law enforcement has become very good at fighting crime. The FBI stats have proven it over the past several years. Yet, as a profession, we are struggling. And much of it, though unintentional, is self-inflicted. While we have done a great job attacking the disease in the community that is violent crime,…

Chief Andrew Bidou

Community Relations are a Two-Way Street

It was a year ago when I became chief of the Vallejo Police Department. I was proud to join it – the department has a great group of officers and support staff, but like many communities here in Northern California, Vallejo has also been hit with tough times. Not everyone may know it but Vallejo…

Nola Joyce

Inviting Outsiders Inside Policing

In many police departments, I would still be considered an outsider. That might seem striking, given that I have worked in high-ranking jobs at three of the nation’s largest police departments. In Chicago, I was the deputy director of research and development, and while in Washington D.C., I was the chief administrative officer. In my…

Darrel Stephens

Police Errors Are Opportunities to Build Trust

No one likes making mistakes, but admitting to them can be an even more loathsome prospect. In policing though, there is no better way to move forward – not just from the mistake but as an industry as a whole. Recent surveys show that people have less confidence in the police on a national level,…

Jim Bueermann

An Introduction to OnPolicing

As police practitioners advance through their careers, they gain invaluable knowledge about controlling crime and disorder, organizational life, and human nature. While they are still “on-the-job”, they are able to convey what they’ve learned to their co-workers or others through meetings or conferences. But when they retire, most of them lose these knowledge-sharing connections 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…