UW News

April 24, 2017

UW Law School hosts ‘How We Police in America: A Case for Reform’ May 4

UW News

Officer-involved shootings. Federal investigations. Body cameras. Civilian review boards. Black Lives Matter. Blue Lives Matter.

In cities around the country, the relationship between police and community is fraught with tension — sometimes the direct result of violent incidents, sometimes the reverberations of problems elsewhere. And almost always, talk of police reform is in the air.

But rather than enact changes after the fact, argues Barry Friedman, the Jacob D. Fuchsberg professor of law and director of the Policing Project at New York University, why not start by transforming accountability?

Friedman will headline a University of Washington Law School event, “How We Police in America: A Case for Reform” at 7:30 p.m. May 4 at Kane Hall.

The event is open to the public.Law School event

The author of “Unwarranted: Policing Without Permission,” Friedman believes the notion of accountability, when it comes to police departments, is misunderstood. The public should be involved on the front end, he says, to try to lessen the disproportionate impact of policing practices on racial and ethnic minorities. His Democratic Policing seminar at NYU explores, for example, different structures for governing police that allow for greater community input into department operations.

Reforming the way police departments operate can take many forms, Friedman said. In communities throughout the United States, the Policing Project is testing models of community input into policing, from a formal advisory council to neighborhood programs.

“It requires a department interested in working with the community,” he said.

The May 4 event also features a panel discussion with Trevor Gardner, UW assistant professor of law; Sue Rahr, executive director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission and a former King County sheriff; and Ian Larsen, legal counsel to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.


Tickets are $5, available online; a limited number will be available at the door.