Center for Policing Equity Welcomes Dirk A. Butler as President and Chief Operating Officer

February 16 2021

The Center for Policing Equity (CPE) today announced Dirk A. Butler has joined the research and action organization as its President and Chief Operating Officer.

In this newly created role, Butler will manage and operationalize the organization’s strategic vision, aligning its short- and long-term goals with its mission to reduce the causes of racial disparities in law enforcement and public safety. Butler will also lead CPE’s executive leadership team and oversee its programming, including community engagement, external relations, and fundraising.

“We are thrilled to have Dirk join CPE during this period of tremendous growth and change for the future of public safety,” said Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, Center for Policing Equity Co-founder and CEO and Carl I. Hovland Professor of African American Studies and Professor of Psychology at Yale University. “I know Dirk’s leadership and guidance will help us to navigate expanding our work with law enforcement and community partners to reimagine and build public safety systems of trust in communities nationwide.”

Butler has more than 20 years of strategic management and leadership experience within the public and private sectors, building successful and sustainable programs and policies for children, families, and communities throughout his career. Butler joins CPE from the United Way, National Capital Area where, as Vice President of Community Engagement and Impact, he developed the organization’s overarching strategic vision and oversaw the management of programming.

Prior to that, Butler held a senior role at the Annie E. Casey Foundation and served as a senior policy director in the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Obama Administration. Earlier in his career, Butler and his wife founded The Opportunity Institute, a Chicago-based research and consulting firm that served as a conduit between academic research institutions and vulnerable communities.

“I am honored to join CPE as its first President and COO,” Butler said. “I have dedicated my life to advancing societal equality and easing the disparities that impact our nation’s most vulnerable communities. I look forward to working with my new colleagues on evidence-based approaches that build equitable systems of safety that align with these values.”

Butler is completing a Ph.D. in Social Service Administration and Research from the University of Chicago this spring. He received his Master of Social Work degree from Clark Atlanta University in Georgia, and his bachelor’s degree from Hunter’s College, CUNY, in New York. He lives in Maryland with his wife and three children.


About Center for Policing Equity: As a research and action organization, Center for Policing Equity (CPE) produces analyses to identify and reduce the causes of racial disparities in public safety. Using data-driven approaches to social justice, we use science to create levers for social, cultural and policy change. Center for Policing Equity also holds a 501(c)3 status.