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Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement: A Review of the Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Models

NCJ Number
Joseph De Angelis; Richard Rosenthal; Brian Buchner
Date Published
September 2016
18 pages
This overview of models of civilian oversight of police discusses the strengths and challenges of each model.
All of the models reviewed use citizens (non-sworn officers) to review police conduct. A brief history of civilian oversight of police is first presented. An overview of contemporary models of civilian oversight of police notes high variability in organizational structure, wide differences in organizational authority, and the frequency of organizational "hybrids." Three categories of models of civilian oversight of police are described in detail: investigation-focused models, review-focused models, and auditor/monitor-focused models. The review concludes with considerations for implementing or reforming a civilian oversight program. 4 tables, 3 figures, and 35 references