Police Reform vs. Policing Reform – Dear Colleague Letter by Ronald L. Davis, USDOJ

Pro Peace Officer

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Dear colleagues, Policing in the United States is unique in that it is neither centralized, as is the case in many countries, nor does it fall under the direct control of the Federal Government. Each of the approximately 18,000 local, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies in the nation falls under the control of a local governing body, executive, or elected official(s). Local control is arguably one of the key characteristics that makes the American policing system unique. It is also the characteristic that presents the greatest challenge to establishing standardized ethical and professional practices within a system few deny is in need of reform.

Yet the discussion of police reform seems to focus primarily on individual officer behavior and ignores the operational systems that have an even greater impact on policing outcomes. The great management guru William Edward Deming captured this notion through his 85/15 rule, which says that…

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