Vera’s Policing Program is dedicated to fundamentally shifting the culture of policing from one that incentivizes and defaults to enforcement, to one that delivers and rewards public safety through community engagement and satisfaction. American policing’s overreliance on punitive enforcement, especially for minor transgressions, has resulted in a recurring adversarial dynamic that fans the flames of deeply rooted acrimony toward police in communities already experiencing enduring problems of poverty, high crime rates, and limited access to social services. This dynamic is especially pronounced in communities of color, which experience far greater levels of enforcement. Additionally, damaged police-community relations make it more difficult for police to execute their most critical responsibility: to respond to violent crime and protect public safety. In those communities where distrust in police is high, people are less likely to report a crime or offer witness testimony, which impedes effective policing.

Ruptured and spoiled relations between police and many of the communities they serve—particularly communities of color—are among some of the greatest challenges facing contemporary American society. We must bridge this gulf. Through developing new data-driven tools, assisting local governments and community leaders with policy development, and conducting research, we aim to provide alternatives to punitive enforcement and to enhance community-police collaborative problem-solving.

Related Work

Series: Covid-19

Law Enforcement Best Practices Can Help Halt the Spread of COVID-19 by Keeping People Out of Jail

Jurisdictions adopt best practices A few jurisdictions, including several of the largest police forces in the country, have already adopted some of these best practices. These departments provide examples for law enforcement agencies nationwide. Some jurisdictions are taking steps to change enforcement patterns. Miami-Dade Police Department has ...

Blog Post
  • Aaron Stagoff-Belfort
    Aaron Stagoff-Belfort
March 27, 2020
Blog Post

What Can A Police Beating in Pittsburgh Teach Us About Racial Bias and Use Of Force?

Vera: What happened to Jordan Miles in 2010? DH: Jordan, an 18-year-old high school senior, left his mother’s house at night to walk around the block, to where his grandmother lived. The family lived in Homewood, an African American neighborhood that has experienced a high level of violent crime. Within a minute of leaving, Jordan encountered three ...

Blog Post
  • Aaron Stagoff-Belfort
    Aaron Stagoff-Belfort
February 25, 2020
Blog Post

Understanding Law Enforcement Practice in Your Community: An Exploration of 911 Open Data Sets

This sort of analysis is just the tip of the iceberg, and we’ll be blogging about how best to use the data here. We’re expecting people to reach out so that they can ask more questions. We would love to start a conversation about how Vera and Two-Sigma can support your 911 data exploration in your city, and how you can use the data aggregation and ...

Blog Post
  • Frankie Wunschel
    Frankie Wunschel
February 21, 2020
Blog Post

Making 911 Accessible

A Guide to 911 Open-Datasets

The 911 system offers an initial look into the problems communities face and the resulting responses that police departments supply. There is a growing demand across the country for greater transparency in policing—and access to data is a key way to increase this transparency. 911 open databases are a prime example of accessible data that communiti ...

Publication
  • Two Sigma Data Clinic, Abdul Rad, Frankie Wunschel
February 19, 2020
Publication

The Arrest-Jail Admission Gap

Jail admission rates surpass arrest rates in small and rural counties

But why does this jail-arrest gap exist? First, it is important to acknowledge that differences in counties’ data collection, data sources, and documentation could have contributed to the gap. Federal statistics have some data gaps—not all arrests are reported in FBI statistics, and some jail admissions are missing in states that have city level pr ...

Blog Post
  • Abdul Rad
    Abdul Rad
  • Wenshu (Monica) Yang
    Wenshu (Monica) Yang
January 10, 2020
Blog Post

Examining Organizational Change and Procedural Justice

An International Cross-Site Evaluation of Two Police Departments

Recent attempts at police reform have embraced theories of procedural or organizational justice. Organizational justice is the notion that how employees view their employers—as well as employees’ positions in the organization—will affect the way people behave in work-related contexts. In this way, if police employees view their organization as trea ...

Project
  • Jim Parsons
    Jim Parsons
Project

The 911 Call Processing System

A Review of the Literature as it Relates to Policing

Police spend an inordinate amount of time responding to 911 calls for service. While most of these calls are unrelated to crimes in progress, police often respond with the tool that is most familiar and expedient to them: enforcement. This exhausts police resources and exposes countless people to avoidable criminal justice system contacts. There i ...

Publication
  • Rebecca Neusteter, Maris Mapolski, Mawia Khogali, Megan O'Toole
July 19, 2019
Publication

Why a Michigan Law Enforcement Agency Employs Formerly Incarcerated People to Bridge the Police-Community Divide

A key goal of the Policing Program at Vera is to elevate innovative approaches to policing that employ alternatives to enforcement. The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) in Michigan is doing just that in its community outreach program employing formerly incarcerated people, which isspearheaded by Sheriff Jerry L. Clayton and Derrick Jackson ...

Blog Post
  • Rebecca Neusteter
    Rebecca Neusteter
  • Megan  O'Toole
    Megan O'Toole
December 07, 2018
Blog Post