Albany, NY, October 9, 2020 – “Community Policing and Police Reform,” a presentation by Finn Institute researchers Rob Worden and Hannah Cochran, was a featured presentation of The Time for Reckoning Symposium, premiering on October 7. Albany’s Center for Law and Justice partnered with the New York State Writers Institute of the University at Albany to organize the month-long, online symposium, the goal of which is to “raise awareness, foster dialogue, find common ground and work collectively to create a more just society.” The presentation was prepared at the request of Dr. Alice Green, the Director of the Center for Law and Justice, and can be viewed here.
Worden and Cochran describe community policing as a broad-gauged, strategic reform, not the more narrowly programmatic reform that is commonly adopted and implemented. Drawing from a comprehensive evaluation of Chicago’s community policing initiative in 1993-2003, they show that community policing – properly conceived and executed – is demonstrably effective in improving quality of life and raising levels of public trust in the police, even in neighborhoods with histories of poor police-community relations. They then focus (at Dr. Green’s request) on community policing in Albany to pinpoint strengths and areas for improvement, drawing on survey data and the findings of a class project that Cochran helped to lead.
Worden cautioned, “Community policing is not only a police reform, for it must be based on a commitment by the police department but also a city’s elected leadership, other public agencies, and the community. It is also labor-intensive and thus costly. But I don’t think that the price is too high for the public benefits that it can deliver.”
The Time for Reckoning Symposium schedule can be found here.