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Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement: Assessing the Evidence

NCJ Number
Joseph De Angelis; Richard Rosenthal; Brian Buchner
Date Published
September 2016
76 pages
Based on a review of research and organizational data collected from 97 police oversight executives, this report examines the key issues associated with the implementation and sustainability of civilian oversight of police mechanisms at the municipal and county levels, so as to assist local policymakers, police executives, and members of the local community in their discussions of civilian oversight of law enforcement.
The body of the report contains 1) a brief review of the historical evolution of civilian oversight of law enforcement in the United States; 2) a detailed examination of three different models of civilian oversight of police (investigation-focused, review-focused; and auditor/monitor-focused); 3) an assessment of the key factors that promote, organization effectiveness in civilian oversight; and 4) an exploration of trending issues in relation to oversight, particularly the debate over how to measure performance of police oversight agencies, the potential value of problemsolving methodologies, and the increasing emphasis on the value of alternative dispute-resolution techniques for resolving complaints against police officers. The report concludes with an identification of issues that jurisdictions may want to consider in assessing whether to implement civilian oversight or revise their current oversight framework. Critical areas needing further research are also identified. 97 references and appended research methods and statistical results