Changing the Law to Change Policing: Initial Steps

Several law school faculty, each of whom runs or is associated with a center devoted to the practice of policing and the criminal justice system, released the report “Changing the Law to Change Policing: First Steps” to address enduring problems in American policing. 

Changing the Law to Change Policing: First Steps provides concrete actions for officials at the federal, state, and local levels to advance immediately the process of transforming policing in all levels of government. At the federal level, the document includes clear guidance on enforcing constitutional rights, regulating police practice, promoting uniform standards, standardizing data collection and information-sharing, regulating federal policing agencies, and supporting institutional reform. State-level reforms include promoting substantive legislation on police policies and practices, improving data and transparency, supporting state-level institutional reform, and reviewing criminal codes and enforcement discretion. Local guidance addresses building robust accountability systems, assessing budgets, reviewing municipal and county codes, and exploring consolidation across local agencies.

All authors are scholars who also are deeply involved in the daily practice of policing, and included among them are the Reporters for The American Law Institute’s Principles of the Law, Policing, which works with Advisers from across the ideological spectrum to draft high-level principles to govern policing. The recommendations in this report go beyond the scope of the ALI project.

The following scholars contributed to the recommendations:

  • Barry Friedman, Policing Project at New York University School of Law
  • Brandon L. Garrett, Center for Justice and Science at Duke University School of Law
  • Rachel Harmon, Center for Criminal Justice at the University of Virginia School of Law
  • Christy E. Lopez, Innovative Policing Program at Georgetown Law School
  • Tracey L. Meares, Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School
  • Maria Ponomarenko, Policing Project at NYU School of Law; University of Minnesota Law School
  • Christopher Slobogin, Criminal Justice Program, Vanderbilt University
  • Tom R. Tyler, Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School


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