We believe community engagement needs to be something dramatically more than what it currently is.

The Policing Project is a leading advocate for the idea that policing must be a shared endeavor between policing agencies and the communities they serve. We have worked directly with police departments, community groups, elected officials, and police commissions across the country. We have conducted a national study on community engagement best practices. We’ve hosted a convening of police chiefs, community organizers, inspectors general, and academics to learn from their experience and perspectives.

We’ve learned much about the successes of public engagement—and just as much about its challenges.
We believe both police and communities would benefit by having regulatory bodies to complement, not replace, direct engagement.

What is often missing from the discussion of police-community engagement is the need for entities that have the authority to shape police practices well before anything has gone wrong. The Policing Project believes police and communities would benefit from oversight bodies with the authority to elevate community voice—and to give it teeth.


When should the public be involved in policymaking? We believe the answer is “when the community asks to be.”

Healthy, robust community engagement requires an informed and empowered public that weighs in on official police policies. However, policy engagement requires substantial time and effort, and incorporating public input into official policing policies requires careful planning.