Officer with Flag


Our Mission

The National Police Foundation’s mission is to advance policing through innovation and science. We are the oldest nationally-known, nonprofit, nonpartisan, and non- membership-driven organization dedicated to improving America’s most noble profession: policing.

The National Police Foundation (NPF) has been on the cutting edge of police innovation for nearly 50 years since the Ford Foundation established it to reportedly fill the role of “the largest private agency in the nation concerned exclusively with police work” and “assist experiments and pilot programs by police departments seeking to make basic changes in their operations and to upgrade their performance.”

Founding Principles & Core Values

Independent & Objective

Nonpartisan & Nonprofit

Strengthening & Building Trust

Enhancing Safety & Security

From Our President

Malcolm Gladwell, in his latest book Talking to Strangers, describes our efforts to engage with strangers in various contexts in society. As he puts it, “In all of these cases, the parties involved relied on a set of strategies to translate one another’s word and intentions. And, in each case, something went very wrong.” Gladwell uses case studies to examine the strategies that motivated or guided each interaction and questions their origins and effectiveness. A few of Gladwell’s case studies focus on the strategies often relied upon by police to interact with strangers, highlighting tragic cases where these interactions didn’t go as anyone would hope. He references historical studies that are well known in our field, led by the likes of legendary criminologists George Kelling, Larry Sherman, and David Weisburd. Gladwell points out what we didn’t understand about interacting with strangers through policing and how these studies helped us better understand the dynamics at play. These renowned criminologists and the historical research they each led had something in common that Gladwell didn’t directly mention in his book–they all were affiliated with and conducted research on behalf of the National Police Foundation. There are few better ways of understanding the benefits of an organization’s work than having a five-time bestselling author and one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people highlight its work. But there is also some irony in the fact that he does not mention the National Police Foundation specifically. Ironic yet appropriate, given that, as an independent organization, we don’t seek to represent others, and we often don’t seek the recognition perhaps we should or could. Instead, we aim to leverage science and data to make positive change in the ways in which officers and communities come together and to ensure just, fair, and effective outcomes for all– strangers and familiar faces alike. As you review our 2019 Annual Report, we hope that our work to create this change becomes familiar to you and that we can count on you to join us in our pursuit of a stronger and more just democracy. Together, we can define more effective strategies and translations that can improve trust between police and the communities they serve.

Jim Burch
President, National Police Foundation

Harnessing the Power of Science to Advance Policing

It is imperative that we seek and rely on scientific evidence to  help us understandchallenges  and solve problems–without resorting to emotion or political rhetoric. Our growing portfolio of scientific research and experiments continues to be a catalyst forsignificant changes in policing, informing scholars and practitioners alike, and serving as a model for the systematic examination of real-world challenges. Our research also stimulates fact-based dialogue among the police, policymakers, scholars, the public, and the media.That ongoing dialogue contributes to new ideas for research, policy, and practice.

In 2019, we initiated new projects and answered critical questions, including:


Our researchers conducted a study to determine their impact on the quality of information shared by victims and witnesses with police. In 98% of the interactions with officers wearing cameras, victims did not visibly react to being recorded, even when told that they were being filmed. Our study suggests that most victims are not concerned about being recorded during police interviews.

Victim Satisfaction by BWC Presence*

Camera Present
No Camera

*Victim noticing the camera not accounted for.

0 %
Percent of Victims Who Did Not React to Being Recorded


We developed a national survey of law enforcement agencies to understand the future officer safety training needs of the law enforcement community. Findings indicated that training on contacts with the mentally ill was the most important perceived future training need (in conjunction with active shooter training).


Persistent lack of community-based mental health resources available to people in crisis results in the frequent need for police intervention. We are examining innovative approaches that small law enforcement agencies are using to help communities across the country build and enhance such programs.


Findings from a recent National Police Foundation survey  of 51 major city law enforcement  agencies  reveal  that  95% of responding agencies tracking suicides have not seen an increase in suicides over the last five years. This figure includes 21% of  responding agencies that reported  a decrease in the number of suicides over this same time period. Despite the fact that most agencies did not report an increase, suicide remains asignificant and serious concern in the law enforcement community, where stress and exposure to trauma runs high. The survey results suggest that despite our collective efforts to address officer suicide, the problem remains persistent among responding agencies.

“The research of the National Police Foundation has played a key role in the development of evidence-based policing for almost half a century. From the Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment to the Jersey City Displacement and Diffusion Experiment to the Shift Work Experiment, the National Police Foundation has been using rigorous scientific methods to inform what the police should be doing and what the police should not be doing. There is simply no other research program that has done more to advance scientific work that informs police practice.”
Dr. David Weisburd
Distinguished Professor, Department of Criminology, Law and Society and Executive Director, Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, George Mason University

Encouraging Responsible Innovation

Technology continues to advance at ever-increasing speed and spawns innovation daily. Many technologies are adaptable and have a variety of uses to improve the efficient and effective delivery of police services. From gun sensor technology to facial recognition tools to unmanned systems, law enforcement leaders are continuously offered new technologies and promises to have urgently needed impact. But how do these innovations actually impact police decision-making and the community? How can we better leverage these advances ethically and responsibly to solve policing problems and community concerns?

In 2019, our innovation-focused efforts included:



In partnership with the IJIS Institute and the Center on Policing at Rutgers University, we provided atwo-day executive seminar on current and emerging public safety technologies and the benefits and challenges that such technologies may bring. Police executives and other staff overseeing the selection and implementation of new technologies in law enforcement learned from the valuable lessons of others–both successes and failures.

In September 2019, we issued an open letter to elected officials and policymakers regarding law enforcement’s  use of facial recognition technology. We believe that facial recognition technology may save lives, improve citizen and officer safety, and deliver justice where wewould otherwise fail. At the same time, we clearly recognize the perilous risks inherent in the use of such technology and its potential for misuse.

“The research and outreach by the National Police Foundation around emerging technologies has been incredibly helpful to so many public safety practitioners, especially when an agency is considering new deployment. Having served as Deputy Chief of Police with the Alexandria, VA Police and Amtrak Police Departments, and now as the director of 9-1-1 in Prince William County, VA, I reference NPF’s work regularly, especially when I need information and/or research related to implementing new law enforcement technologies.”

Protecting the Protectors and Those They Serve

As of December 11, 2019, 48 officers have died in line of duty firearms deaths in 2019. And after years of declining violent crime rates, the number of violent crime victims, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, has been increasing since 2016.

We are committed to initiatives that will reduce officer injuries and fatalities and improve overall officer wellness. With equivalent urgency, we leverage science and data to improve the safety of those in our communities, many of whom live in fear of crime, violence, and victimization.

In 2019, we continued our work on the following major initiatives:


We continue to expand the capacity of our LEO Near Miss Officer Safety Initiative, encouraging law enforcement personnel to share their near-miss stories and on-the-job lessons learned to prevent fellow officersfrom being injured or killed. Each week we share a Near Miss with an engaged community of officers from over 400 agencies across the country, promoting safety and lessons learned.


Our Center for Mass Violence Response Studies has a mission to prepare public safety, government, school, and community leaders to think critically about the challenges posed by mass casualty events and to implement comprehensive response policies and practices. We have developed resources for the field to better prepare local law enforcement for responding to these incidents and are developing new training for law enforcementleaders.


With support from the U.S. Department  of    Justice    Office of Justice Programs Bureau of Justice Assistance, we continue to operate the Center for Improving Law Enforcement   Investigations to  reduce   violent  gun   crime. The  Center  provides   training  and technical assistance to law enforcement agencies to integrate people, processes, and technology in response to shootings to disrupt gun violence and prevent future criminalactivity.

“The National Police Foundation has made significant contributions to understanding police effectiveness for almost fifty years through research and advancing new ideas. As we wrestle with the challenges of officer safety and wellness, the National Police Foundation has made another important contribution to policing with the creation of the LEO Near Miss Reporting System. Its development helps officers avoid mistakes, injuries, and fatalities.”

Strengthening Trust to Keep Communities Safe

Policing without community support and trust is not policing at all. How can police and the communities they serve–particularly those communities most impacted by crime, violence and police responses–improve engagement, collaboration, communications, and trust, to ensure safety?

We have always insisted that our work have practical impact on policing and that the knowledge gained through empirical investigation be applicable outside the “laboratory,” directly informing improvement in the way local police departments work to more effectively serve and protect.

In 2019 we worked more broadly to strengthen police-community trust through a variety of efforts in communities across the country and around the world, including:



As agencies face pressures to address allegations of internal and external injustices, we work with police and community leaders to identify, assess, and address these challenges, building capacity for sustainable self-assessment and improvement. For example, we recently began assessing the Portland Police Bureau (PBB) regarding their policies and processes related to policing mass demonstrations and First Amendment assemblies, in order to provide guidance and recommendations for future events.

We are partnering with law enforcement agencies in San Diego (CA), Burlington (VT), Riley County (KS), Madison (WI), and others to conduct  surveys to understand community perceptions regarding police effectiveness and professionalism, neighborhood concerns, confidence in the department, willingness to cooperate   with   the     police, andopinions on public safety technologies.    These    insights can inform law enforcement policies, practices, and resource allocations.

“The National Police Foundation is a critical partner for our community outreach efforts at the Madison Police Department. The professional and scientific community surveys that they have assisted us with have been invaluable. Our ability to provide quality police services to our entire community has been enhanced by the timely feedback which we received from the community as a result of these surveys. We look forward to continued collaboration with the National Police Foundation and are grateful for the strides we have made with engaging our community.”
Victor Wahl
Acting Chief of Police, Madison Police Department


Working in partnership with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) and with funding support from the U.S. State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), we are providing technical assistance to Mexican public safety agencies preparing for accreditation. This process is improving internal  policies  and  procedures, and increasing citizen and officer perceptions of professionalism within participating agencies.

With support from public and private sector funders, and in partnership with local law enforcement and other national nonprofits, we advanced policing through numerous projects and research studies. Major 2019 publications include:

  • Planning for the Future: A Primer for Police Leaders on Futures Thinking
  • Evaluation of the Milwaukee Police Department’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center
  • Officer Involved Shootings: Understanding the Complexities
  • Officer Involved Shootings: Incident Executive Summary
  • Officer Involved Shootings: Officers/Subjects Executive Summary
  • Officer-Involved Shooting Situations, Responses, and Data: An Analysis of Informationfrom Major City Police Agencies
  • Recovering and Moving Forward: Lessons Learned and Recommendations Following the Shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
  • Do Body Cameras Affect the Quality of Victim-Police Interactions in Field Interviews?
  • Analysis of 2018 Use of Deadly Force by the Phoenix Police Department
  • Building and Managing a Successful Public Safety UAS Program: Practical Guidance and Lessons Learned from the Early Adopter
  • Preliminary Report on the Police Foundation’s Averted School Violence Database
  • Summary Report of Survey Results: Officer Safety & Wellness and the Impact of New Technology (National Law Enforcement Applied Research & Data Platform)


These and more can be found at

Our Voice

Spreading Ideas & Enabling Change

To advance policing through innovation and science, we must ensure that findings and successes are translated into practical guidance for practitioners and policymakers alike. We promote the latest science, innovation, and thought through a variety of means, including:

Ideas in American Policing (IAP)

Our flagship publication series features world renowned criminologists and forward-thinking practitioners, often pushing the bounds of modern policing.

Police Foundation Fellows

Although not a membership organization, we engage with current and former law enforcement executives, officers, analysts, researchers, and innovators through our fellowship programs. Fellows discuss emerging and sometimes controversial ideas and help us plot paths forward.

Annual Convening

Our Annual Convening, an event that brings together law enforcement leaders, renowned criminologists, government leaders, corporate executives, and national and foundation partners, provides a forum to discuss critical policing issues of our time.

On Policing

Our thought-provoking idea blog allows police leaders and others to challenge traditional ideas of policing and public safety, stimulating debate about the challenges involved in addressing crime, disorder, and terrorism.


Our research translation briefs and 5 Things You Need To Know condense scientific research findings and complex topics into single-page, easy-to-digest briefs targeted to practitioners and decision-makers.

Research Partnerships

We are proud to serve as a research partner with the California Chiefs of Police Association, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Commission on Accreditation in Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), and multiple private sector entities.

A Look at Our Financials


Programs & Services
Management & General

Funding Sources

Federal Grants
Investment Income
*Preliminary FY19 End of Year Data

Board of Directors

Michael Brown_gray

Mike Brown

Police Chief
Alexandria Police Department, Alexandria, VA
cammarata cropped

Pam Camaratta

Project Leader

Peter Cuneo

Managing Principal
Cuneo & Company, LLC New York, NY

Henry DeGeneste

HDG Consulting, Inc., Ocala, FL

Cheryl Epps

Epps Consulting, Inc., McKenney, VA
Karen Freeman-Wilson

Karen Freeman Wilson

City of Gary, IN

Dan Isom

University of Missouri – St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

Dr. David Klinger

University of Missouri - St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

George M. Little

Executive Deputy Secretary
Community Corrections and Reentry, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Harrisburg, PA
Photo by Alexis Glenn/Creative Services/George Mason University

Dr. Cynthia Lum

George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia

Bernard Melekian, DPPD

Assistant CEO for Public Safety
Santa Barbara County Executive Office, Santa Barbara, CA

Mark Mellman

President and CEO
The Mellman Group, Washington, DC

Dan Merkle

Founding CEO & Chairman (Ret.)
Lexipol, Irvine, CA
Serpas Loyola Headshot_gray

Ronal Serpas

Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
Valenti 8407 High Res_gray

Mike Valenti

Beechwood Capital Advisors, Short Hills, NJ

James H. Burch, II

President (Ex Officio)
National Police Foundation, Arlington, VA
*With Jeffrey S. Hydrick, Counsel, Buckley Sandler LLP

Outgoing Members


George Bohlinger III

Managing Partner
Easton Hanover Partners, LLP

Clarence Edwards

Former Chief of Police
Montgomery County Police Department

Paul Helmke

Civic Leaders Living-Learning Center, Indiana University

Elsie Scott

Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center

Bill Galloway

Real Estate & Investments Manager, Pasadena, California

Johathan Knowles

Autodesk, Los Gatos, CA

Joe Mancias, Jr.

Nash Nogales, LLC, Alexandria, VA

Your support matters. Help us continue to serve those who serve and protect.

2550 S. Clark Street, Suite 1130, Arlington, Virginia 22202

Phone: (202) 833-1460

Awarded the Platinum Seal of Transparency by GuideStar in 2019