U.S. Policing & Reforms

Obama Administration Best Practices

On December 18, 2014, President Barack Obama signed an executive order establishing the Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

The President charged the task force with identifying best practices and offering recommendations on how policing practices can promote effective crime reduction while building public trust. The Task Force  created six pillars, or main topic areas, around which action items revolve. These six pillars are:

  • Pillar One: Building Trust and Legitimacy
  • Pillar Two: Policy and Oversight
  • Pillar Three: Technology & Social Media
  • Pillar Four: Community Policing & Crime Reduction
  • Pillar Five: Training & Education
  • Pillar Six: Officer Wellness & Safety

The task force also came up with two overarching recommendations:

  • The President should support the creation of a National Crime and Justice Task Force to examine all areas of criminal justice and propose reforms
  • The President should support programs that take a comprehensive and inclusive look at community-based initiatives addressing core issues such as poverty, education, and health and safety

The Civil Rights Department of the Department of Justice has promulgated its own report in order to make its reform work more accessible and transparent. Using pattern-or-practice cases as a way to contribute to nationwide police reform, the Department focuses on advancing a community and problem-oriented policing strategy, promoting bias-free policing, use of force principles, community engagement, departmental policy changes and re-training, reforming accountability systems, officer wellness and support, and recognizing the link between policing and other criminal justice and social systems.

President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (2015), https://cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/taskforce/TaskForce_FinalReport.pdf.

U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, The Civil Rights Division’s Pattern and Practice Police Reform Work: 1994-Present (Jan. 2017), https://www.justice.gov/crt/file/922421/download.