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 it was established by the Ford Foundation 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
From Our President
Since 2012, I have had the honor and privilege of leading the National Police Foundation. Having served in law enforcement and city government for nearly 40 years, I anticipated finding the National Police Foundation to be a valuable and trusted resource. What I could not have known is just how instrumental the Foundation’s work is to so many law enforcement and community leaders who care deeply about those who serve and those whom we serve. Although the Foundation has enjoyed nearly 50 years of leadership in our field, its opportunities and impact have grown exponentially over the last seven years. Emphasizing the incorporation of science and innovation in all that we do, we have expanded our reach and impact across the U.S. and internationally. Our critical incident reviews of major acts of mass violence have led to significant changes in how we respond to these tragedies; we are embracing new technologies to explore the impacts they may have in policing and to protect communities; and through our reform initiatives we have worked together with communities, police officers, and police leaders to make positive, sustainable changes towards what has been referred to as “rightful policing.” We’ve touched and learned from policing in Canada, India, Israel, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, as our international work and interests have expanded. We’ve entered into new areas such as combating violent extremism and the management of jail operations by law enforcement agencies, and have continued with our traditions of groundbreaking research as described in this report. As this chapter in my professional life draws to a close with my retirement at the end of 2018, I look forward to watching the National Police Foundation continue to have a positive influence on our communities and those who serve and protect each of them.
Chief James R. Bueermann (Ret.)
President, National Police Foundation
From Our Board Chairman
This year, with continued purpose and clarity, the National Police Foundation has focused intently on our mission, to advance policing through innovation and science, through rigorous research, innovative problem-solving, independence, and objectivity in support of law enforcement and our communities. At the end of this year, we begin a period of transition. The Foundation’s President for the past six years, Chief Jim Bueermann (Ret.), will retire from his role. Our growth while Jim served as President advanced rapidly, and beyond expectations. We are engaged at local, state, national, and international levels, working hand-in-hand with some of the most thoughtful and capable law enforcement leaders in the world, and their counterparts and partners in government, communities, academia, and industry. Jim’s extraordinary ability to cast a collaborative, innovative, and forward-thinking vision of what “could be” has served to bring together those who may have differing perspectives but share a common goal – justice, safety, and dignity for all. In addition to Jim’s retirement, four Board members are ending their terms – George Bohlinger III, Clarence Edwards, Paul Helmke, and Elsie Scott. Their contributions have been invaluable, and we thank them for their dedication. At the same time we welcome Mike Brown, Dan Isom, Bill Galloway, David Klinger, Ronal Serpas, and Mike Valenti to the Board. I look forward to working with each of them. Looking ahead we aim to further expand our portfolio to explore and identify ways to continuously advance policing – not only through federally funded initiatives, but also through privately funded efforts and partnerships that bring collaborative innovators together. We will continue to be the nation’s preeminent independent and nonpartisan research and practice organization supporting the advancement of policing. I am honored to serve the National Police Foundation, supporting those who serve and protect, and I thank you - our partners, funders, and donors - for continuing to support our work.
Bernard Melekian, DPPD
Chair, National Police Foundation Board of Directors
Harnessing the Power of Science to Advance Policing
More than ever, we seek and rely on scientific evidence to help us understand challenges and solve problems without resorting to political rhetoric or responses based on emotions. Our growing portfolio of scientific research and experiments remains the catalyst for significant 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. This ongoing dialogue contributes to new ideas for research, policy, and practice.
We are committed to rigorous and unbiased research and evaluation, and in the spirit of evidence-based policing, we are committed to continual learning and improvement of law enforcement practices.
In 2018, we set out to explore several key areas and to answer several critical questions, including:
Does Legitimacy Matter?
Our distinguished staff are working together with world-renowned researchers to examine the implementation of procedural justice principles in four cities to answer critical questions that may profoundly impact policing strategies in America.
Can Training Improve Community Interactions?
Our research scientists, in collaboration with others, found that brief low-intensity supervisor-administered training of officers, inspired by the principles of procedural justice, resulted in officers being less likely to resolve incidents through arrest or to be involved in incidents where force was used.
What is the Impact of Mandatory Sexual Assault Kit Testing?
State legislation created mandatory testing of sexual assault kits, leading to concerns over lab workloads and hopes for increased identification and conviction of serial rapists. Our study addressed these policy concerns and found that the law did impact workloads of crime laboratories but had no effect on arrests or convictions.
How Can Officer and Community Safety Be Improved?
Working with over 50 major city law enforcement agencies, we are examining more than 1,200 fatal and non-fatal police shootings to help reduce deadly encounters between police officers and community members by identifying key factors that may allow for preventative measures.
Caller Indicated Subject May Be Armed
Officers Injured Across Distance Ranges in OISs
Encouraging Responsible Innovation
Every year, major technological advances are made that provide new opportunities to reduce violence and crime. From unmanned aerial systems, machine learning, and body-worn cameras, to artificial intelligence, facial recognition tools, and robotics, 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 communities? How can we better leverage these advances ethically and responsibly to solve policing problems and community concerns?
We are committed to identifying future needs and technologies that may impact policing and assisting police leaders in making thoughtful decisions about the introduction and use of such technologies to the workforce and the community.
In 2018, our innovation-focused efforts included:
Exploring the Use of Virtual Reality
UAS and Local Law Enforcement
Working with private sector partners, academics, and others, we’re collaborating to explore how the immersive experiences of virtual and augmented realities may improve training outcomes for officers and provide officers and the community the opportunity to “trade places” for improved dialogue, understanding, and empathy.
Safely operating and leveraging the assets of an unmanned aircraft system (better known as a drone) without violating privacy and other civil rights presents a great challenge for police. With federal support, we’ve created a center that serves as a resource to help law enforcement agencies make informed decisions about acquiring and using drones, critical policies and procedures, gaining public trust and support, and operating an accountable and transparent program.
Understanding How Technology Impacts Officers and Their Perceptions
We’re assessing the views of thousands of police officers on how new technologies, such as body worn cameras and predictive policing, are impacting them and their roles and responsibilities. Our findings inform police leaders, policymakers, and developers as new technologies – adopted to improve public safety – may have intended and unintended consequences on officers and the communities they serve.
Protecting the Protectors and Those They Serve
Crime and violence take a toll on communities and departments across the country. As of November 27, 2018, 49 officers had died in line of duty firearms deaths in 2018. A 2018 CDC report indicates that homicide was the third leading cause of death for children between the ages of 10 and 19, with firearms listed as the underlying cause of death in 74% of all homicides and in 87% of homicides of youth.
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 2018, our work included the following major initiatives:
Addressing Violent Crime
In partnership with the Vera Institute of Justice, we are working with police organizations to transform CompStat into a performance management tool that focuses on crime reduction and prevention, community satisfaction and engagement, and organizational efficiencies and strength. The new CompStat360 seeks to reduce crime and violence while protecting communities and officers through a rigorous commitment to community and problem-oriented policing.
Improving Officer Safety Through Near Miss Analysis
The LEO Near Miss Officer Safety Initiative encourages law enforcement personnel to share their near-miss stories and on-the-job lessons learned to prevent fellow officers from being injured or killed. We capture and share experiences and data to help officers make it home at the end of the shift.
Improving Investigations to Reduce Gun Crime
With support from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance we have established 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 criminal activity.
Understanding Incidents of Mass Violence
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. Our critical incident reviews inform strategic thinking, advance public safety, and expand knowledge; the Averted School Violence database captures and shares lessons learned from prevented attacks across the nation.
Strengthening Trust to Keep Communities Safe
A critical challenge that has faced policing for many years is legitimacy and community trust. How can police and the communities they serve—particularly those communities most impacted by crime, violence, and police responses—improve communications and trust to ensure safety? Decades of mistrust require new approaches and substantial commitment by us all to resolve.
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 2018, we have worked to strengthen police-community trust through a variety of efforts, including:
Building Capacity & Supporting Police Reform
Examining Officer and Community Perceptions
As agencies face pressures to address patterns and practices of misconduct and allegations of injustices, we work with police and community leaders to identify, assess, and address these challenges, building capacity for sustainable reforms. In 2018, we assisted the Baltimore City Police Department to support consent decree compliance and completed focus groups with Chicago police officers to gain input regarding department challenges implementing the pending consent decree.
We are gathering information regarding officers’ perceptions in close to 100 agencies and their communities, as well as communities’ perceptions of their agencies. This research helps leaders understand where perceptions align, where they diverge, and what issues need to be addressed to strengthen relationships, improve internal and external perceptions, and make communities safer.
“All people should be treated with respect regardless of their attitude”
Partnering with International Law Enforcement
In collaboration with law enforcement in the United Kingdom, Israel, Mexico, and India, we are identifying innovations, building mutual understanding and improving the perceptions and trust of policing globally.
Leveraging Transparency to Improve Trust & Accountability
Hate and bias-motivated crimes are thought to be growing in number across the U.S., yet reporting these incidents is a challenge. We launched a hate crime open data challenge to shine light on this problem and to provide an opportunity for law enforcement to demonstrate transparency. Within weeks, more than 54 agencies agreed to release open datasets on hate and/ or bias-motivated incidents and crime, sharing with communities and leading the way towards trust and shared solutions.
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)
Police Foundation Fellows
“Having served as the New Orleans Police Department Superintendent, Nashville Chief of Police, and the Chief of the Washington State Patrol I know first-hand the value of having an unbiased, reliable partner who can not only help translate scientific research but has also conducted some of the most influential studies in the history of American policing. These studies have undoubtedly altered law enforcement practices and policies through their findings and results.”
Ronal Serpas, PhD
“The work of the National Police Foundation has been instrumental in guiding policing reforms at the local level and nationally. As a former Sheriff and in my current role as Director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, I rely on the National Police Foundation’s work and look forward to regular engagement with the Foundation staff as an Executive Fellow.”
“I appreciate the focus the National Police Foundation places on incorporating community in their work and highlighting community engagement as a key component of effective policing. The NPF’s independence allows them to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community…. bringing objectivity and guidance to law
enforcement agencies struggling for more positive relationships with their communities so that they can co-produce public safety.”
Reverend Jeffrey Brown
“As a sworn law enforcement supervisor … I look forward to engaging with the Foundation and their partners regarding timely issues that affect officers and the communities we serve. The National Police Foundation continues its proud tradition of rigorous, relevant experimentation and has become a key player in advancing the evidence-based policing movement… I frequently turn to the Foundation’s work, past and present, and encourage others in law enforcement to do the same.”
Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson
A Look at Our Financials
*From the Fiscal Year 2017 Audited Financials
Board of Directors
Joe Mancias, JR.
Bernard Melekian, DPPD
*With Jeffrey S. Hydrick, Counsel, Buckley Sandler LLP
George Bohlinger III
Your support matters. Help us continue to serve those who serve and protect.