New Research Project:

Police Reform in the Progressive City

Since the well-publicized deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Jamar Clark, and others at the hands of the police and the rise of #BlackLivesMatter activism in the mid-2010s, police reform has been a central public concern. Yet scholars know little about the process of reforming local police departments. As departments in major cities struggle to repair police-community relationships, understanding how citizens, activists, policy-makers, and other non-police actors shape police department practices is of critical importance. In this study, we analyze the reform process in Minneapolis, a democratic stronghold in the Midwest, in 2016-2017. Using textual analysis, interviews with key stakeholders, and public opinion  data, we examine how advocacy groups, the Minneapolis Police Department, city leaders, and everyday residents frame the problem(s) with policing and understand the current (and possible) political, bureaucratic, and legal reforms. We will be collecting data through Spring 2018.