Sam Walker is the author of 13 books on policing, criminal justice policy, and civil liberties. His most recent book on policing is The New World of Police Accountability (Sage, 2005).
REPORTS AND ARTICLES
“Policing the Police” article published by U.S. State Department
As part of its work to promote democracy around the world, the U.S. State Department provides assistance to emerging democracies on policing issues. The April 2010 issue of EJournalUSA is devoted to Ethical and Effective Policing. It contains several articles by noted police experts, including “Policing the Police” by Samuel Walker and Adnrea Lorenz. The article describes how the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department responded effectively to the 1991 Rodney King beating at the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department across town. Read the article: StateDepartment
Click for reports and articles
Frontier Issue in Police Reform: Making Police Reforms Endure
Trent Ikerd and Samuel Walker,
Making Police Reforms Endure: The Keys for Success (Washington, DC: Department of Justice, 2010).
Available on line.
Contact information for first author, Trent Ikerd:
“TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACKWARDS: RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY”
THE GEORGE BETO LECTURE: SAM HOUSTON STATE UNIVERSITY
Sam Walker delivered the Geoge Beto Lecture at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, on February 15, 2011. The lecture, “Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Recent Developments in Police Accountability,” is available on line.
View the video: http://www.betochair.com/media/index.php?mode=view&item=47
[It may work best if you download the video, per their instructions, and view it on RealPlayer]
INTERVIEW WITH HERMAN GOLDSTEIN
Herman Goldstein, retired Professor at the University of WisconsinLaw School, is recognized as the founder of Problem-Oriented Policing.
View Sam Walker’s interview with Professor Goldstein on the web site of the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing:
The interview covers Goldstein’s career from the 1950s through to the present, including his pioneering work with the Bar Foundation
Survey and his work with the Chicago Police Department in the 1960s.
Learn about the origins of problem-oriented policing from its founder.
For information and resources about POP, go to the Center’s web site:
Innovations in Police Accountability
- City of Spokane Issues Comprehensive Report on Police Use of Force Monday February 18, 2013
- COPS Office of DOJ, Las Vegas Police Reach Innovative Collaborative Agreement Monday December 31, 2012
- Commentary: Constitutional Policing Necessary for Effective Crime Control Friday October 12, 2012
- Dallas Chief Issues 8 Point Plan in Response to Shooting Wednesday August 15, 2012
- Audit of the Cincinnati Police Department Wednesday August 1, 2012
More on Police Accountability
OF THE POLICE
- What is citizen oversight of the police?
- What are the basic models of oversight?
- Is citizen oversight effective?
FOR RACIAL PROFILING
Data collection on police traffic stops is a popular reform for controlling racial profiling.
Read why Internal Benchmarking is likely to be a more effective approach.
Read more about race, ethnicity, and criminal justice.
Read Walker’s article on the problems with traffic stop data collection.
View a list of Police Accountability Organizations.
Samuel Walker in the Media
- Sam Walker Testifies as Expert Witness in NYPD Stop and Frisk Trial – Predicts Decision Will Have National Impact
Sam Walker testified as an expert witness in the just concluded law suit challenging stops and frisks by the NYPD. The 5 1/2 hour testimony on May 15th and 16th recommended accountability related reforms regarding the supervision of police … read more »
- New Cleveland Crisis: Officers Disobey Direct Order
Two Cleveland, Ohio police officers provoked a new crisis for the Cleveland Police Department by disobeying a direct order from a sergeant. An off-duty officer had issued a help officer call and the two officers started to respond. The sergeant … read more »
- ACLU Accuses Detroit Police of “Dumping” Homeless People
The ACLU of Michigan filed a complaint with the Department of Justice accusing Detroit police officers of transporting homeless people to the outskirts of the city and then “dumping” them there. Sam Walker comments that the practice of police transporting … read more »
Developments in New Orleans
2013 CRISIS: CITY SEEKS TO WITHDRAW FROM CONSENT DECREE; JUDGE DENIES REQUEST
In late January 2013 the City of New Orleans filed a motion with the District Court asking to withdraw from the Consent Decree over the police department which it had previously signed. The attempt to withdraw is entangled with a separate DOJ suit against the New Orleans Parish Prison over unconstitutional conditions, which was nearing an agreement and consent decree. The withdrawal request threated to undermine both efforts to reform the police department and the jail. On February 8th, however, the District Court denied the city’s request to withdraw. Read about the city’s request to withdraw: NOPD2013CityAsksWithdrawal Read about the Judge’s Denial: NOPD2013CourtDenies2 Read the Court’s Decision: NOPD2013CourtOrderDenial Read the New York Times story: NOPD2013NYTimes
DOJ, NEW ORLEANS REACH CONSENT DECREE
On July 24, 2012 the U.S. Justice Department and the City of New Orleans agreed to a consent decree mandating sweeping reforms in the New Orleans Police Department. The decree goes much further than previous consent decrees in terms of requirements related to community involvement in the reform process. Read the Consent Decree: NewOrlFederal Consent Decree
THE EARLIER 2011 DOJ BLISTERING REPORT ON NOPD
The U.S. Justice Department on March 17, 2011 issued a blistering report on the New Orleans Police Department, charging it with systematic abuses related to use of force, discrimination in arrests, and a general lack of internal accountability. Read the DOJ report: NOPDDOJReport And read the New Orleans Times Picayune story on the report: TimesPDOJReport
PBS Frontline / Propubilca documentary, “Law and Disorder”
On August 25, 2010, Frontline broadcast a documentary on police shootings of citizens at the time of Hurricane Katrina. The documentary was based on intestigative reporting by reporters from Propublica and the New Orleans Times-Picayune. View the program
What a Consent Decree Would and Would Not Accomplish in New Orleans
Read Sam Walker’s Op-Ed piece in the New Orleans Times-Picayune: NewOrleans Op Ed
Suprintendent Ronal Serpas’ 65-point Plan for Rebuilding the New Orleans Police Department
Read the Plan: NOPDRebuilding
Read the Colorlines article on the Rebuilding Plan: ColorlinesNOPD
NOPD Signs MOU with NO Independent Police Monitor (IPM)
On November 10, 2010, the New Orleans Police Department signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the city’s Inedpendent POlice Monitor (IPM). The MOU spells out the role of the IPM in conducting oversight of the NOPD and the responsibilities of both parties. This agreement is believed to be the first such formal arrangment ever between a police department and an external oversight agency. There are about a dozen auditor/monitor model oversight agencies in the U.S. (Go to the Citizen Oversight page of this web site for information on the auditor/monitor model. Also, go the the Books page for Sam Walker’s two books on the auditor/monitor model.)
Read the MOU: NOMonitorMOU
Past Stories on the Katrina Shootings.
Reporters Laura Maggi and Brendan McCarthy of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and A.C. Thompson of Propublica have published numerous stories on the Katrina shootings and related developments in New Orleans. Read their stories at Propublica
Breaking News. For breaking news about the New Orleans police by reporters Laura Maggi and Brendan McCarthy, go to the New Orleans Times Picayune: http://www.nola.com/
DOJ Investigation. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the NOPD and reportedly will seek a Consent Decree mandating reforms of the department. What is a Consent Decree? How have they worked in other law enforcement agencies? Go to the Federal Pattern or Practice Litigation page of this web site for information.
Early Intervention System. Superintendent Serpas’ 65-point Rebuidling Plan calls for an Early Warning/Intervention System. What is an EIS? How does it work? What is it designed to accomplish? Go to the Early Intervention System page of this web site for information.
Read two October 2010 Times Picayune stories on an Early Intervention system for the NOPD. One story focuses on an officer who was not disciplined despite being involved in 15 shooting incidents and having 50 citizen complaints. Read: NewOrlOct23 and NewOrlOct24
FEDERAL PATTERN OR PRACTICE LITIGATION
The U.S. Department of Justice is authorized to sue local law enforcement agencies where there is a “pattern or practice” of violating citizens rights. These are civil suits, designed to change the organization, and not criminal investigations of individual organizations.
DOJ has reached consent decrees or memoranda of agreement (MOA) with several law enforcement agencies.
DOJ Opens Investigation of the Cleveland, Ohio Police Department:
The year 2012 was a period of significant developments in federal pattern or practice litigation, with settlements in Seattle, Portland, and Puerto Rico.
Settlement Agreement Over the Puerto Rico Police
In December 2012 the Justice Department reached a settlement agreement mandating reforms of the Peurto Rico Police. Read the agreement: PRSettlementagreement_12-21-12 For background, read the ACLU’s blistering report on the Puerto Rico police, Island of Impunity: PRicoislandofimpunity_20120619
In September 2012 the Justice Department reached a settlement with the Portland, Oregon police department focusing on its handling of people with mental health issues. Although focusing specifically on mental health issues, the required reforms regarding use of force are relevant to all use of force situations. Read the settlement: PortlandDOJSettlement
Seattle – DOJ Reach Settlement Agreement
On July 27, 2012. the City of Seattle and the Justice Department reached a settlement agreement regarding the Seattle Police Department. Read the Settlement Agreement. SeattleSettlement7-27-12 The City and DOJ also agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding regarding a Community Police Commission. Read the MOU: SeattleMou_7-27-12 Scroll down for earlier Seattle developments.
DOJ Sues “Sheriff Joe” in Maricopa County, AZ
In May 2012 the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department filed suit against the Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff’s Department. The suit was filed after settlement negotiations broke down over the refusal of Sheriff Joe Arpaio to agree to a court appointed monitor in an out of court settlement (similar to the settlements with court appointed monitors in all but one other DOJ pattern or practice cases). Read the Justice Department complaint: MaricopaCountyComplaint
2011 Developments !
In December 2011 the Justice Department issued a blisterting report on the Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriffs Department. The department is run by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has been the center of controversy of immigration enforcement practices and other issues for years. The DOJ report found a pattern of unconstitutional policing, including discriminatory stops and arrests, use of force, and failure to provide for persons with Limited English Proficiency. Read the DOJ report: DOJMaricopaCounty
DOJ also issued an investigative report on the Seattle Police Department, finding serious problems with how the department investigates use of force incidents, including not adequately using its existing accountability office, the OPA. Read the Seattle Letter: DOJSeattleLetter DOJ’s investigation resulted in a separate report critical of how the department applies the Garrity rule when investigation officers. Read the Garrity letter: DOJSeattleGarrity
Seattle Update: In April 2012 the mayor of Seattle issued a 22 page plan for improving the Seattle Police Department, SPD 20/20: A Vision for the Future. The plan covers a wide range of issues, including better management of public demonstrations, reforms to end biased policing, improving the department’s early intervention system, and many others. Read the 20/20 plan: SeattlePD2020Plan
On the earlier work of the DOJ Special Litigation Section, read the Consent Decrees regarding the LAPD Consent Decree, and Pittsburgh Consent Decree. The settlement in Cincinnati involved an MOA with the Justice Department MOA and a Collaborative Agreement Collaborative with the ACLU and other community groups.
Impact. Are “pattern or practice” suits an effective police accountability tool?
Read Sam Walker and Morgan Macdonald’s article in the George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal (2009).
Read about sustaining reform in the New Jersey State Police.
Read the ACLU Petition requesting a federal investigation of the Newark, NJ police: NewarkPetition. Read the story on the opening of a DOJ investigation on May 9, 2011 in response to the ACLU petition: NewarkDOJInvestig
Read the Salon.com (May 30, 2011) article on the revival of DOJ patttern or practice litigation: DOJPattern&Practices2011
Go to: “In the Media” on the home page for news stories about the current DOJ investigation of the New Orleans Police Department.
learn more about federal pattern or practice litigation
EARLY INTERVENTION SYSTEMS
Early intervention systems (EIS) are an important new police accountability tool.
- What is an EIS?
- How does it work?
learn more about early intervention systems
MEDIATING CITIZEN COMPLAINTS AGAINST
Is mediation an effective way to handle citizen complaints against police officers?
learn more about mediation
POLICE UNIONS AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Experts agree that police unions have a major impact on policing. Many argue that police union contracts and state police officers’s bill of rights laws are a major obstacle to accountability.
Read Kevin Keenan and Sam Walker’s Boston University Public Interest Law Review article on the content of state police officers’ bill of rights laws: POBillsofRights
Despite their importance to policing, police unions have been neglected by criminal justice scholars.
Read Sam Walker’s article on the neglect of police unions: policeunions