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Policing, Public Safety, and Equity: Evidence and Insight for Better Policymaking


The American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues (EPI Center) and Public Agenda, a nonpartisan research and public engagement organization, hosted a webinar for city officials and civic leaders focused on promoting equitable public safety, community reinvestment, and police reform.

Public Agenda’s Hidden Common Ground on Race and Police Reform examined public opinion in June 2020 on many of the most pressing questions prompted by the tragic murder of George Floyd and the ensuing protests, including policing bias, use of force, and militarization as well as how policing fits into the priorities of communities and the broader effects of racism in society.

Aimed primarily at elected city officials, public administrators, and other city stakeholders, the webinar  addresses the scientific evidence behind these questions with a particular focus on the impacts and lived experiences of communities disproportionately affected by these issues. The goal is to provide the evidence and insight policymakers need to effectively and equitably promote public safety in their communities.


Emily Owens, Professor, Department of Criminology, Law, and Society, University of California Irvine

Michael Sierra-Arévalo, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin

Walter Katz, Vice President of Criminal Justice, Arnold Ventures


Quixada Moore-Vissing, Associate Director for National Engagement Programs at Public Agenda


Introduced by Will Friedman, President of Public Agenda, and Steve Newell, Project Director, Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues, AAAS

Presented in partnership with the International City/County Managers Association (ICMA).

Recommended Reading from the Speakers:

Bell M. C., “Police Reform and the Dismantling of Legal Estrangement,” The Yale Law Journal, vol. 126, pp. 2054-2150, 2017.

"Changing Police Practices Means Changing 911," Jim Parsons, Frankie Wunschel, Vera Institute of Justice, 2020.

"Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement: A Review of the Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Models," Joseph De Angelis,  Richard Rosenthal, Brian Buchner, OJP Iagnosti Center and National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement. 

"Enhancing Accountability and Trust with Independent Investigations of Police Lethal Force," Walter Katz, Harvard Law Review Forum, 2015.

"Interrupting Violence With The Message 'Don't Shoot'," David M. Kennedy, NPR, 2011.

Ofer U., "Getting it Right: Building Effective Civilian Review Boards to Oversee Police," Seton Hall Law Review, vol. 46, iss. 4, art. 2, 2016. 

Owens E., Weisburd D., Amendola K. L., Alpert G. P., “Can You Build a Better Cop? Experimental Evidence on Supervision, Training, and Policing in the Community,” Criminology & Public Policy, vol. 7, iss. 1, 2018.

Proactive Policing: Effects on Crime and Communities,” National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine, 2018. 

Sierra‐Arévalo M., “The commemoration of death, organizational memory, and police culture,” Criminology, vol. 57, iss. 7, 2019.

The Economics of Policing: Forthcoming in the Economics of Risky Behavior,” Emily Owens, University of California, Irvine Department of Criminology, Law and Society, Department of Economics.

"Thomas Abt Talks New Book On Urban Violence, 'Bleeding Out'," Michael Martin, Thomas Abt, NPR, 2019.

What the police really believe,” Zack Beauchamp, Vox, 2020.

Additional Resources

American Civil Liberties Union: The Other Epidemic: Fatal Police Shootings in the Time of COVID-19

Arizona State University: Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Center for Policing Equity: Data Science for Justice: How do you measure justice?

Center for Policing Equity: A Roadmap for Exploring New Models of Funding Public Safety

Cure Violence Global

George Mason University: Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy

John Jay College of Criminal Justice: Data Collaborative for Justice

John Jay College of Criminal Justice: National Network for Safe Communities

Local and Regional Government Alliance on Race & Equity: Advancing Racial Equity and Transforming Government: A Resource Guide to Put Ideas into Action

National Institute of Justice: Crime Prevention

National League of Cities: City Officials Guide to Policing in the 21st Century

Peirson E., Simoiu C., Overgoor J., Corbett-Davies S., Jenson D., Shoemaker A., Ramachandran V., Barghouty P., Phillips C., Shroff R., Goel S., “A large-scale analysis of racial disparities in police stops across the United States,” Nature Human Behavior, vol. 4, pp. 736-745, 2020.

Portals Policing Project: A Policed People’s Account of the State

Scholars Strategy Network: Criminal Justice

Stanford University: SPARQ

Stanford University: The Stanford Open Policing Project

The City University of New York John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The National Academies Press: Law and Justice

The Square One Project

The United States Conference of Mayors: Report on Police Reform and Racial Justice

United States Department of Justice: Final Report of The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing

University of California Berkeley: Othering & Belonging Institute

University of Chicago Urban Labs: Urban Labs Crime Lab

Urban Institute: Policing and Crime Prevention

Vera Institute of Justice

Vera Institute of Justice: Best Practices and Emerging Issues in American Policing

Yale Law School: The Justice Collaboratory

Event Contact

Erin Saybolt

Program Assistant, Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues