Lexipol: The Privatization of Police Policymaking
96 Texas Law Review 891 (2018)
87 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2018 Last revised: 28 Apr 2018
Date Written: March 16, 2018
This Article is the first to identify and analyze the growing practice of privatized police policymaking. In it, we present our findings from public records requests that reveal the central role played by a limited liability corporation — Lexipol LLC — in the creation of internal regulations for law enforcement agencies across the United States. Lexipol was founded in 2003 to provide standardized policies and training for law enforcement. Today, more than 3,000 public safety agencies in thirty-five states contract with Lexipol to author the policies that guide their officers on crucial topics such as when to use deadly force, how to avoid engaging in racial profiling, and whether to enforce federal immigration laws. In California, where Lexipol was founded, as many as 95% of law enforcement agencies now rely on Lexipol’s policy manual.
Lexipol offers a valuable service, particularly for smaller law enforcement agencies that are without the resources to draft and update policies on their own. However, reliance on this private entity to establish standards for public policing also raises several concerns arising from its for-profit business model, focus on liability risk management, and lack of transparency or democratic participation. We therefore offer several recommendations that address these concerns while also recognizing and building upon Lexipol’s successes.
Keywords: police policymaking, police training, privatization, community policing, immigration policing, criminal justice reform, Lexipol
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