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I. Basic issues – Deadly Force

Police Accountability Resource Guide

Section I: Basic Issues – Deadly Force


1. The President’s Task Force Report on 21st Century Policing is the best single set of recommendations for improving policing.

Read the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Final Report (2015).

Read the Task Force’s Implementation Guide: President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Implementation Guide (2015).

Read the Task Force’s First Year report on progress toward implementation of its recommendations:


2. Rahr and Rice’s influential essay “From Warriors to Guardians” is the best short statement on the philosophy that should guide policing.

Read: Sue Rahr and Stephen K. Rice, From Warrior to Guardians: Recommitting American Police Culture to Democratic Ideals (2015).


3. Walker and Archbold’s book is a comprehensive coverage of the important new developments related to police accountability.

Samuel Walker and Carol Archbold, The New World of Police Accountability, 2nd ed. (2014).

See especially the PTRS Framework set forth in The New World of Police Accountability.

A comprehensive approach to accountability reviews (1) a state of the art POLICY (on use of force or other issue; (2) TRAINING that accurately reflects the policy; (3) SUPERVISION that closely monitors officer conduct; and (4) the systematic REVIEW of force incidents to identify issues related to policy, training, and supervision that need to be corrected. Read abut the PTSR Framework: ptsr


4. Charles H. Ramsey is one of the leading police officials in America. He was Chief of Police in Washington, DC, from 1998 to 2007, where he oversaw a Memorandum of Agreement with the Justice Department, implementing major reforms. Then he was Commissioner of Police in Philadelphia, from 2008 to early 2016, where he also instituted major reforms. Most notably, he was Co-Chairperson of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing in 2014-2015.

Read his story: Charles H. Ramsey, The Challenge of Policing in a Democratic Society: A Personal Journey Towards Understanding (2014).

5. The Philadelphia Police Department has added an “Accountability” Section to its web page. The section contains the department policy manual, detailed information about officer-involved shootings, the DOJ Collaborative Reform reports, and more.

Visit the Accountability section here.


[see also Race and Policing]

1. The Police Executive Research Forum Model Policy on the permissible and impermissible use of race and ethnicity in policing represents the recognized standard in American policing.

PERF Model Policy. Police Executive Research Forum, Racially-Biased Policing: A Principled Response (2001). Read the Policy: perfbiasfreepolicy


2. The Seattle Police Department policy on Bias-Free Policing embodies the principles set forth in the PERF Model Policy.

Seattle Police Department, Policy 5.140, Bias-Free Policing.


3. The Fair and Impartial Policing Project offers training for police departments on recognizing unconscious or implicit bias.

Visit the Fair and Impartial Policing Project web site:


1. The Inspector General for the New York City Police Department (NYPD), created in 2014, publishes detailed audits of NYPD policies and practices.

Read the Inspector General’s reports here.

2. The Inspector General of the Los Angeles Police Commission is independent of the LAPD and conducts audits of LAPD policies and practices.

LAPD, Police Commission, Office of the Inspector General, Significant Reports (2013 – present). Read the reports:!significant-reports/rhjqt


3. The Special Counsel to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Merrick Bobb, directed what was the finest citizen oversight agency in the country. (The County Board of Supervisors discontinued the Special Counsel in 2013). The Special Counsel’s reports (1993-2003) are archived at the PARC web site and are invaluable reading.

Read the Special Counsel’s reports (scroll down the left side and click on “Los Angeles Sheriffs Department):


4. San Francisco Blue Ribbon Panel. The 2016 report of the San Francisco Blue Ribbon Panel is a comprehensive and hard-hitting examination of the SFPD, including personnel issues, discipline, use of force, shootings, and other issues. Particularly valuable is the chapter on “Culture” discussing the impact of the police union on the department.

Read the report: San Francisco, Report of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Transparency, Accountability, and Fairness in Law Enforcement (2016).


5. Following the release of a police video showing Chicago officers shooting Laquan Mcdonald in the back and killing him in 2014, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed a Task Force on Police Accountability.

Read the Task Force Report here:

6. NACOLE, the National Association for Citizen Oversight of Law Enforcement, has published a two-part assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the different forms of oversight.

Read the summary report: nacolestrengthsweaknesses

Read the longer assessment of the evidence: nacole_assessingtheevidence_final


1. The Consent Decree over the Seattle Police Department, required the creation of a broadly representative Community Police Commission.

Visit the Seattle, Community Police Commission web site:

Learn more about the history and context of the Seattle CPC: Samuel Walker, “The Community Voice in Policing: Old Issues, New Evidence.”


2. New Orleans Police Department, Department of Justice Findings Letter on the department’s handling of both sexual assault and domestic violence incidents found that the department did not have good working relationships with community social service agencies. The resulting consent decree required the NOPD to develop working relationships with social service agencies.

Read the sections of the Findings Letter: nopdcommunitypartnerships

Read the entire DOJ Findings Letter on the New Orleans police department:


3. The Justice Department 2014 investigation of the Albuquerque, NM, police department concluded that inadequate community policing contributed to abuses of use of force.

Read the section of the DOJ report: albqcommunitypolicing

Read the entire DOJ Albuquerque report:


4. The Cincinnati Collaborative Agreement is a consent decree settling a series of race-related law suits against the Cincinnati police department that was entered at the same time as the Justice Department Memorandum of Agreement. The Collaborative Agreement directed the police department to adopt community policing / problem-oriented policing, instead of traditional aggressive anti-crime policing. The CA has been particularly influential in establishing a model for community engagement in the implementation of court-ordered reforms.

Read the Cincinnati Collaborative Agreement, In re Cincinnati Policing, Collaborative Agreement (2002):


[See also force, investigations; openness and transparency; force review board]

1. The 2016 PERF report, “Guiding Principles on Use of Force,” is the most forward-looking report on the subject. Must reading.

Read the report:


2. The 2012 DOJ Collaborative Reform investigation of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department found that inadequacies related to the department’s policies, training, force reporting and force incident review contributes to unjustified police shootings.

Read the report: Department of Justice, Collaborative Reform, A Review of Office-Involved Shootings in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (2012):


3. A Use of Force Review Board is an administrative process for reviewing officer uses of force, not for the purpose of determining whether an officer violated the law or department policy, but for the purpose of identifying whether changes in department policy, training or supervision are needed.

          Learn about the Las Vegas Use of Force Review Board: lasvegasufrb


4. The shooting at moving vehicles has been prohibited by most police departments since the 1970s. Because of a series of controversial shootings, PERF reiterated the policy in its 2016 “Guiding Principles on Use of Force” report.

Read the relevant section of the PERF Report: PERF, Guiding Principles on Use of Force, pp. 44-47.