ACS National Event: Symposium on Policing in a New Political Era

March 9, 2017

The strained relationship between police and communities of color is certainly not new, but has gained renewed attention due in part to several high-profile cases of police misconduct and the resulting public outcry. The Obama Administration responded to the crisis by investigating police departments accused of systematically failing to uphold the Constitution, sending mediators to communities in crisis, and establishing a Task Force to recommend best practices that maintain public safety while building public trust between communities and police. Now, after years in which the federal government took an active role in trying to address police misconduct and accountability, the Trump Administration has signaled a return to more traditional law and order policies.

On March 9, 2017,  ACS and New America hosted a symposium with a cross section of policing experts who discussed the current state of policing, the institutional and legal critiques central to the debate around police accountability, and the reforms that are needed and politically feasible to address police misconduct.   

Mark Schmitt, director of the program on political reform at New America, welcomed the audience, and Christopher Wright Durocher, director of policy development and programming at ACS, introduced the panels.

Panelists included:

Panel 1 – Diagnosing the Problem: A Few Bad Apples or a Blighted Orchard?

  • Kimberly Atkins, Chief Washington Reporter and Columnist, Boston Herald, Moderator
  • Kami Chavis, Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal Justice Program, Wake Forest University School of Law                                                     
  • Justin Hansford, Visiting Professor of Law, Georgetown Law Center; Associate Professor Saint Louis University School of Law
  • Thomas Nolan, Associate Professor of Criminology and Director of Graduate Programs in Criminology, Merrimack College
  • Lisa D. Robinson, President, Vanguard Justice Society, Inc.; Lieutenant, Baltimore Police Department
  • Ekow Yankah, Professor of Law, Cardozo School of Law

Panel 2 – A Conversation with… 

Panel 3 – Finding Solutions:  Exploring the Necessary and the Possible Reforms

  • Jamiles Lartey, Reporter, The Guardian, Moderator
  • Brian Corr, President, National Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement; Executive Director, Cambridge Peace Commission
  • Robert N. Driscoll, Member, McGlinchey Stafford PLLC; former Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief of Staff, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Christy Lopez , Distinguished Visitor from Practice, Georgetown Law Center; former Deputy Chief, Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice
  •  Denise W. Ross, Public Interest Technology Fellow, New America