State Policy Network
Police reform in the states: Insights from five state-based experts

Calls for police reform are growing louder each week. While much of the focus is on Washington DC’s answer and solutions, states, cities, and localities are in the best position to enact meaningful reforms.

On June 24, 2020, State Policy Network held a discussion on police reform in the states. Five state-based experts shared policy solutions related to criminal justice and police union reform, as well as just-completed polling research. Below are key takeaways from the event’s speakers.

Molly Davis, Libertas Institute

Utah has adopted some of the country’s leading criminal justice reforms. Below are some of the Libertas Institute’s state-level police reform ideas.

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Molly is a criminal justice policy analyst at the Libertas Institute in Utah. Contact her at molly@libertasutah.org.

Ken Girardin, Empire Center

Police unions and collective bargaining agreements play a significant role in protecting bad officers and shielding them from accountability and discipline. States can start to address this problem by reigning in the power and influence of these unions.

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Ken is a policy analyst from the Empire Center in New York. Contact him at ken@empirecenter.org.

Josh Crawford, Pegasus Institute

Local governments can encourage police departments to change their policing strategies.  Intelligence-led policing can improve public safety while also improving police community relations.

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Josh is the executive director of the Pegasus Institute in Kentucky. Contact him at josh@pegasuskentucky.org

Tony Woodlief, State Policy Network

Solutions from Washington are slow, but attorneys general have the power to oversee the police departments in their states that need to be turned around.

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Tony is executive vice president at State Policy Network. Contact him at woodlief@spn.org.

Carrie Conko, State Policy Network

By taking into account Americans’ feelings towards policing and equality issues, state think tanks can help solve local problems in ways that truly meet their communities’ needs.

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Carrie is the vice president of communications at State Policy Network. Contact her at conko@spn.org