Samuel Walker

Community PolicingSamuel Walker is Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and the author of 14 books on policing, civil liberties and crime police.

His specific areas of expertise include citizen oversight of the police, early intervention systems to identify problem officers, federal pattern and practice litigation, and mediating citizen complaints.

He is also an expert on the history of civil liberties, with books on the history of the ACLU and the controversy over hate speech.

Can Policing Really Change?

Ten Lessons From the DOJ’s ‘Pattern or Practice’ Bias Probes The first consent decree ordered under the  Justice Department “pattern or practice” program to investigate local police departments for violations of constitutional rights was signed 20 years ago.  There’ve been 30 settlements with departments since that first Pittsburgh agreement in 1997. It’s therefore an appropriate time to assess the program’s  impact. What has it achieved? Has it effectively reduced police … [Read more...]

When Policing Goes Wrong

Since 1994, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has investigated and reached settlements with more than 20 state and local police agencies. Much controversy surrounds these so-called “consent decrees,” which have mandated reforms of police practices in agencies ranging from the municipal forces of Los Angeles, New Orleans and Albuquerque, to state agencies like the New Jersey State Police. Investigations of Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD are currently underway. Do these consent decrees … [Read more...]

How Seattle Bridged the Community-Police Divide

Having a voice in police policy-making has been a major demand of community groups since the 1960s. But various reforms have provided only a very limited voice at best, or have been largely window dressing. Recent events in Seattle, however, represent an important step toward establishing a genuine community voice in police policymaking—and may offer a model for cities elsewhere. I believe they have broad significance for the future of American policing. The demand for a community voice … [Read more...]