Who Can Police the Police?

48 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2016 Last revised: 26 Nov 2016

See all articles by Joanna C. Schwartz

Joanna C. Schwartz

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Date Written: November 25, 2016


Recent police killings have prompted a national conversation about the need for police reform. Most conversation has concerned the types of reforms that might improve policing. Equal consideration should be given to which actors can most effectively pursue these reforms. In this Essay, I suggest three qualities that police reformers need to be effective: leverage over law enforcement agencies to demand reforms; motivation to improve policing; and resources to do their work. I use this framework to assess the efficacy of those most commonly called upon to reform the police, propose strengthening reformers in the areas in which they are lacking, and suggest ways in which reformers might collaborate to draw on their comparative strengths.

Suggested Citation

Schwartz, Joanna C., Who Can Police the Police? (November 25, 2016). 2016 University of Chicago Legal Forum 437, UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 16-01, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2711980

Joanna C. Schwartz (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
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