Policing (Prepublication Draft for Testing)

What Should We Do to Ensure Equal Justice and Fair Treatment in Our Communities?


*Note that this is a prepublication draft for testing. We would appreciate your feedback as you use this draft framework in your communities. Please visit our post-forum response survey to share your insights.


Scroll down for the Policing issue advisory and other related materials.


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The United States is in conflict, as most Americans demand change in the policing practices that are intended to create safer neighborhoods. In the spring of 2020, the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks sparked nation- wide protests as many citizens voiced their concerns about the unjust treatment of racial minorities. All three died during encounters with police, and their names joined a lengthy list: Eric Garner in New York City in 2014, Freddie Gray in Baltimore, MD in 2015, Philando Castile in St. Paul, MN and Alton Sterling
in Baton Rouge, LA in 2016, to name only a few.

This issue framework presents three broad options for improving police practices and suggests actions that could be taken to make progress on each. As with all ideas for change, all of these actions involve risks and trade-offs as well as benefits.

But the ideas outlined here are just a starting point. They are meant to spur deliberation on an issue that increasingly disturbs Americans of all ages and all races. Those taking part in these forums can consider the options and actions listed here as well as to modify, reject, or add to them.

As with most other difficult issues, sound judgments depend on taking the time to consider the facts and listen to people with different experiences and perspectives.

What should we do to ensure equal justice and fair treatment in our communities?

Option 1: Increase accountability

Option 2: Confront persistent racial discrimination in policing

Option 3: De-escalate to create new responses to nonviolent problems