The Police Report Card: Translating Research to Policy

October 2021

Joscha Legewie, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Desmond Ang, Harvard Kennedy School

The renewed Black Lives Matter protests in spring 2020 are largely a response to policing trends over the past three decades: cities across the United States have adopted strategies known as proactive or broken-windows policing, with a focus on strict enforcement of low-level crimes and extensive use of pedestrian stops. As a consequence, an increasing number of minority youth have had involuntary contact with the criminal justice system. A nascent research field is exploring the social consequences and costs of policing for the educational, health and other outcomes of minority citizens. At a moment of national reckoning about policing and race in the United States, the goal of this seminar is to explore how we can measure such costs in pursuit of an elusive idea: a police report card that captures the consequences of policing broadly and thereby creates measurable accountability beyond the common focus on crime. In this process, the seminar builds on and hopes to further establish the nascent research field. To the organizers' knowledge, the seminar would be the first focused forum focusing on the social consequences of policing.