A Year in Police Reform: Past Successes & Looking Ahead

20th Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference
August 18-20, 2021 | Held Virtually

This panel highlights policing reforms adopted over the last year and what still needs to be done.



Over the past year, amid continued police violence and the killing of unarmed black men and women, we have seen renewed calls for racial justice and systemic police reform. According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have introduced legislation to reform some aspect of policing. Common reforms have included addressing issues around accountability and oversight, limiting the use of neck restraints and no-knock warrants, instituting use of force standards, requiring a duty to intervene, mandating data collection around police interactions, requiring increased use of police body cameras and more. But are these reforms enough? And how can we limit police interactions? Police retain enormous discretion in determining where to patrol, who to stop, and who to arrest for minor offenses like loitering, jaywalking, littering,disorderly conduct, and disturbing the peace. Criminalizing minor offenses needlessly exposes individuals to police interaction, which can often function as a gateway to police violence.

  • Kami Chavis, Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal Justice Program, Wake Forest University School of Law
  • Walter Katz, Vice President of Criminal Justice, Arnold Ventures
  • DeRay Mckesson, Co-Founder, Campaign Zero
  • Moderated by: Paige Fernandez, Policing Policy Advisor, National Political Advocacy Department, ACLU

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