Department of Justice COPS 'The Beat' Podcast: Black Voices in Policing

The work of the Center for Justice Research was recently featured as part of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) podcast series The Beat.

Director Dr. Howard Henderson discussed CJR’s research approach of engaging community partners, decision-makers, policy-makers, police and others who are on the ground level.

“We understand, as an academic research institution, we need to cover as many different perspectives as we can about an issue before we engage in the research,” Henderson told podcast host Gilbert Moore. “We have a team of officers who advise us, who are at every level from chief down to line-level officer. We have community advocacy groups. We bring all of these folks to the table, because we understand that the solution cannot be arrived at unless you have all the perspectives there.”

In the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, the national focus on reforming police has intensified. CJR is one of the many entities at the frontline of criminal justice reform, working with policy-makers and officers to create meaningful relations between communities and officers.

One way CJR is working with policymakers to create effective change is the creation of our National Police Reform Advisory Group, which is creating action briefs to advise politicians and key decision makers for the overall  improvement of police - community relations.

“That’s what made us put out the Chokehold Action Brief first, because when we talked to folks—both liberals, conservatives, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, advocacy groups, police departments—they all said chokeholds was a good place to do it because there aren’t many people around the country who would say we still need those to do our job,” Henderson said. “They understand the historical legacy of slavery rooted in many police practices today. And we want to be able to say, “Listen, let us identify the points where you all agree, and as academics that’s our job, to help solve problems. Let’s go where we know we’re going to have the greatest level of agreement, and spend the rest of the time working on issues that would improve police accountability but are going to be more contested.”

Multiple Action Briefs are slated to be released over the next few weeks, focusing on more training for police, creating a national database of violent police officers, and other vital policy recommendations to repurpose the roles of police as compassionate protectors in our communities.

Listen to the full Department of Justice COPs Office Podcast here:

Transcript of the interview with Dr. Howard Henderson can be found here: