Malcolm Sparrow, former British police detective, now a professor of the Practice of Public Management at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the author of Handcuffed: What Holds Policing Back, and the Keys to Reform (Brookings Institution Press, 2016), says the focus on statistics has led police departments down the wrong path.
After the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice conducted a deep dive into the culture of the organizational design of the Ferguson Police Department. After identifying structural concerns like an over emphasis on revenue raising and quotas, the department recommended a solution: "Implement a robust system of true community policing."
"For anyone who has been involved in policing for the past forty years, that was an extraordinary recommendation," said Sparrow. "Community policing has been the modern standard doctrine for modern policing." So why did the Department of Justice find it necessary to recommend these ideas again?
"It's possible," Sparrow writes, that "these ideas never took root."