Advisory Group

Center for Justice Research Creates National Police Reform Advisory Group

Meet the Members

Helping Shape the Future of Police Reform

In the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death and the resulting national outcry for systemic policing reforms, Texas Southern University’s Center for Justice Research (CJR) has formed a National Police Reform Advisory Group. The expert-laden advisory group will help chart the national response for the sustainable improvement of police-community relations.

“We have an opportunity to be at the forefront in the shift in American policing,” said Dr. Howard Henderson, founding director of CJR, which formed in 2018 as a nonpartisan research center devoted to data-driven solutions for an equitable criminal justice system. “Out of the unprecedented support for change, we have found a lack of solution-oriented approaches to police-community relations. As such, the creation of the National Police Reform Advisory Group brings together nationally-recognized experts with prior police and criminal justice field experience.”

Henderson said members of the advisory group have experience in police training at the international, federal, state and local levels. The group will ultimately help shape the future of police reform by:

  • Assisting with the strategic research and program approach to police reform
  • Serving as technical advisors on police reform efforts, research protocols and policy developments
  • Providing advice to police administrators, mayors, and other government officials on research and development sponsored and/or conducted in the name of police reform.

Through the Center for Justice Research, the advisory group will provide evidence-supported recommendations of the existing police reform recommendations and put forth any necessary additions. The group will advise on the initial police reform policy and practice needs assessment and the continued activity of the national and local police reform movement. The group’s overall objectives and the suggested path forward will be agreed to by its members, ultimately benefiting from the collective knowledge, skills and abilities of its credentialed members.

Quotes from National Police Reform Advisory Group members:

“As our elected officials and criminal justice leaders begin the tough work on criminal justice policy reform to address the historic and perpetual, unjust and unfair treatment of communities of color, it is imperative that they be provided with sound advice grounded in research evidence and lived experiences,” said Paul Elam, Ph.D., chief strategy officer with MPHI. “Many of our policy efforts have failed because we have not placed the people who are most impacted at the center of conversations which seek to find solutions to problems affecting them.

This advisory group will be comprised of doctorally prepared, national experts who have years of experience working in communities where structural racism has negatively impacted the life outcomes of many black and brown residents. The advisory group will use a culturally responsive and racial equity lens emphasizes that emphasizes the powerful impact of inter-institutional dynamics, institutional dynamics, institutional resources inequities and historical legacies on racial inequalities in our current criminal justice system.”

“Because of the continued tumult between the police and the community, a think tank (research group) that examines policing from the perspective of the community, particularly communities of color, is essential to get at the root cause of the problem,” said Lorenzo M. Boyd, Ph.D., assistant provost for diversity and inclusion and director of the Center for Advanced Policing, University of New Haven and former president of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. “This multidisciplinary, multi-perspective approach will address not just the outcomes from police community relations, but we will delve into the underlying problems to address and view police training from a proactive, community-based lens.”

“The Advisory Group has been established to serve as an assemblage of intellectuals to facilitate the orchestration of policy changes in police and criminal justice reform,” said Ronald Craig, Ph.D., assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology at Tennessee State University. “Further the group is solution orientated in the implementation of change in this unprecedented time in American history.”

“This advisory group is a response to a legacy of police violence that has heightened the current pain in the Black community. As such, we must continue to work diligently to challenge anti-Black racism in all forms so that George Floyd’s death and the countless others won’t be in vain,” said David Baker, Ph.D., interim chair of the Administration of Justice department at Texas Southern University.

“This country has reached a boiling point with many of its police departments and their relationship with the community, particularly the African American community,” said K.B. Turner, Ph.D., department chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Memphis. “Indeed, this country is close to its nadir in the history of American policing. It is (past) time for a reexamination and evaluation of American policing. This includes personnel, police procedures and practices, equipment, and utility of that equipment.

This advisory group brings its passion and collective experience to serve as change agents in providing reform to ensure constitutional policing and accountability. The issues that have become so salient in recent weeks demands that this advisory group provide effective leadership at a time where it is missing, but sorely needed.”

“It is vital that the voices of those with lived experience have a seat at the table from start to finish,” said Bahiyyah M. Muhammad, Ph.D., assistant professor and Inside Out program administrator with the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Howard University. “Far too often are the voices and actions of the directly impacted heard from the sidelines. This approach is far from acceptable. As the world has come together during this time of grief, swift and democratic action is needed. It is often said, ‘those who are closest to the problem are closest to the solution.’ We are committed to making this a reality. With racist and outdated theories that perpetuate white supremacy, there is only one way forward. That being, through the leadership of Black scholars who have lived experience, community respect and a track record of renown scholarship and service to their own. This will be the only way to advance the movement beyond the hashtag #Blacklivesmatter soundbite that currently dominates national media. We are the only experts to our experience. There are no substitutes and that's a fact.”

Advisory Group Members

Lorenzo Boyd, Ph.D.

University of New Haven

Dr. Lorenzo M. Boyd is an Associate Professor, Director of the Center for Advanced Policing and Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion at the University of New Haven in Connecticut.  A former president of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Lorenzo is a nationally recognized leader in police-community relations and an authority on urban policing, diversity issues in criminal justice, race and crime, and criminal justice systems.

Ronald Craig, Ph.D.

Tennessee State University

Dr. Ronald Craig is an assistant professor at Tennessee State University in the Department of Criminal Justice.  With almost 20 years of criminal justice higher education experience, Ron has worked as a public safety officer and in juvenile and adult probation

Paul Elam, Ph.D.

MPHI

Dr. Paul Elam is the Chief Strategy Officer for MPHI, a Michigan-based and nationally engaged, non-profit public health institute. Paul is nationally recognized for his deep understanding of crime and justice, youth violence and prevention, and child maltreatment. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience measuring racial and ethnic disproportionality and believes that sound public policy analysis should include an examination of whether all people are being treated fairly and equitably.

Captain Holland Jones, JD, Ph.D.

Harris County Constable Office

Dr. Holland Jones is a Captain with the Harris County Constable Office in Texas. Holland is a Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Legal professional with a 20+ year career applying experience, education, training, and leadership skills.

Bahiyyah M. Muhammad, Ph.D.

Howard University

Dr. Bahiyyah Muhammad is an Associate Professor  in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Howard University. Her  research is on the impact of parental incarceration. In partnership with the International Association of Chiefs of Police she has developed a nationally recognized policing course.

Whitney Threadcraft-Walker, Ph.D.

University of Houston-Downtown

Dr. Whitney Threadcraft-Walker is an Assistant Professor at the University of Houston-Downtown and a Fellow in the Harvard Government Performance Law working on criminal justice projects in Texas. Whitney’s research examines predictive bias, and the linkages between race, crime, and psychopathy.

Rashawn Ray, Ph.D.

University of Maryland


Dr. Rashawn Ray is a David M. Rubenstein Fellow at The Brookings Institution. He is also a Professor of Sociology and Executive Director of the Lab for Applied Social Science Research (LASSR) at the University of Maryland, College Park. Ray’s research addresses the mechanisms that manufacture and maintain racial and social inequality with a particular focus on police-civilian relations.

Roy Rodney, J.D.

Rodney & Etter, LLC.

Roy J. Rodney, Jr. is the founder and managing partner for Rodney & Etter, L.L.C., a diverse group of lawyers formerly involved in academic, government and private practices. Roy has an extensive history of defending against injustice and infringement of civil liberties.

KB Turner, Ph.D.

University of Memphis

Dr. Turner serves as the Chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the African American Male Academy at the University of Memphis. As a sworn law enforcement officer and police trainer with over 30 years of service.

Jennifer Cobbina, Ph.D.

Michigan State University

Dr. Jennifer Cobbina is an Associate Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. Jennifer's areas of expertise center on police-community relations, youth violence, and concentrated neighborhood disadvantage, with a special focus on the experiences of minority youth and the impact of race, class, and gender on criminal justice practices.

Policy Subcommittee Members

Warren V. Dukes, Ph.D.

Purdue University

Dr. Warren V. Dukes is currently Sociology Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Programs in the Department of Sociology at Purdue University. Warren’s prior research on Black police officers gained the attention of national law enforcement executives and members of President Obama’s administration, as he was an invited participant in the President’s Task Force on the White House 21st Century Policing Briefing.

Jennier Wyatt Bourgeois, M.S.

Texas Southern University

Jennifer Wyatt Bourgeois is a doctoral candidate in the Department of the Administration of Justice in the Barbara Jordan – Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs and a graduate research fellow in the Center for Justice Research at Texas Southern University.

Chris Andrews

Communications Consultant

Chris Andrews is a former journalist who covered state government in Michigan for more than 20 years.  As a communications consultant, he has written extensively on criminal justice, juvenile justice, and race equity issues. He has his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan.

Bezil L. Taylor, MSW

Michigan State University’s School of Social Work

Bezil Taylor is a Co-Facilitator of the Racial and Social Justice Collaborative at Michigan State University’s School of Social Work. Bezil has experience working in nonprofit leadership and in legislative and community support roles in the Michigan Senate.

Paul Elam, Ph.D.

MPHI

Dr. Paul Elam is the Chief Strategy Officer for MPHI, a Michigan-based and nationally engaged, non-profit public health institute. Paul is nationally recognized for his deep understanding of crime and justice, youth violence and prevention, and child maltreatment. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience measuring racial and ethnic disproportionality and believes that sound public policy analysis should include an examination of whether all people are being treated fairly and equitably.

Police Reform Resources

Contact us to find out how the Center for Justice Research can help you chart your response for sustainable improvements in police community relations.

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