About Us

As a research and action think tank, CPE aims to provide leadership in equity through excellence in research. Using evidence-based approaches to social justice, we use data to create levers for social, cultural and policy change.

Collaboration Creates Equity Improvements

We work collaboratively with law enforcement, communities, and political stakeholders to identify ways to strengthen relationships with the communities they serve. Together, we increase policing equity through transparency and accountability, while maintaining high standards of service, reliability, and protection.

As a result of our collaborations, we have received the endorsement of the Major Cities Chiefs Association and crafted a blueprint for research and action in policing equity.

We’re proud to have worked with many of the nation’s largest and most committed police departments in the United States and abroad. In response to the equity priorities shared by law enforcement across the country, we’ve developed four areas of expertise:

While the definition of “racial profiling” may vary depending on one’s audience, most agree that the term refers to the suspicion of criminality or harassment of non-Whites by law enforcement for no reason other than race. Racial profiling happens “when a police officer stops, questions, arrests, and/or searches someone solely on the basis of the person’s race or ethnicity” (Cleary 2010).

Scholars and law enforcement officials have long debated what the appropriate metric for computing bias might be (Blank, Dabady, & Citro, 2004; Banks, 2003), yet they have yet to reach a consensual solution.  Therefore, significant debate continues about what a reasonable baseline for comparison might be since the available baselines are either subject to bias themselves or unreasonable anchors.

This lack of basic information regarding race and its impact on policing is deeply troubling for anyone committed to equitable treatment in the criminal justice system. In order to support law enforcement in its mission to provide public safety for all, the best social science must be employed to bring clarity to issues of racial equity in policing. Our endeavors do just that. We work directly with law enforcement agencies to understand specific community demographics and dynamics, using research and data to guide policing equity improvements–particularly racial and gender equity.

As one of the highest priorities on our national agenda, determining how the United States will resolve its ever-increasing immigration pressures will reflect our nation’s character. Law enforcement will continue to play an important role in shaping that reflection and ensuring it is a positive and equitable one.

While some federal initiatives encourage municipal law enforcement to cross-deputize their officers—creating police officers and sheriffs who are also immigration agents—many worry that such efforts will create more problems than they solve. Specifically, local law enforcement officers have expressed concern that undocumented citizens will become reluctant to report serious crimes if they suspect legal repercussions for their actions. Community groups have also expressed reluctance for cross-deputization, citing concerns about racial profiling. These issues may also cause legally documented citizens of various ethnicities to lose faith in police.

Supporters of cross-deputization have argued that immigration policy enforcement will not be possible without the help of local police. But what are the effects of these policies on communities and officers? There is little empirical research addressing this issue at a time when there is great need for informed perspectives. This and other immigration-related concerns form the heart of the CPE Immigration Policy Enforcement Area of Emphasis.

What do ideal law enforcement agencies look like? Law enforcement has long struggled to make itself a more complete reflection of the communities it serves. Achieving that end, however, has been elusive. Consequently, the wealth of research on gender and racial equity in recruitment, hiring, retention, training, and promotion must be applied to the realm of law enforcement.  But we shouldn’t stop there. Researchers should continue to examine this issue to attain a more thorough understanding of the specific benefits (and potential costs) of employing a more diverse and representative police force in various communities.

Every society has a special responsibility to protect and serve its most vulnerable citizens. We often feel this need most acutely when it comes to our children; however, mounting evidence suggests that some children are not as well protected as others. Racial factors may be involved.

Research and current statistics indicate that racial factors may be involved when it comes to youth offenders represented in the juvenile justice system. Additionally, race is also implicated in whether or not youth are transferred into the adult court system.  For instance, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) found that between 1985 and 1995, African-American youth were significantly overrepresented in the number of youth transferred to adult courts.  This was particularly true with regard to drug offenses.

If our treatment of our most vulnerable citizens is our measure of virtue, then there is a clear imperative to understand the causes of these inequalities, and rectify them. The question of how law enforcement can best live up to our democratic principles in this arena is, therefore, a top priority of CPE’s research team.