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News/Events/Announcements

Latest...

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August 2016
"Moving Beyond Bratton." New York Times, Op-Ed, Malcolm Sparrow, Monday 8th August 2016

Access online here, or download a printable pdf version here.
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July 2016
National Public Radio: Professor Sparrow interviewed on Airtalk, KPCC

Listen to "Handcuffed: What's the Primary Goal of Policing?" Malcolm Sparrow interviewed on KPCC's Airtalk, with host Larry Mantle (28th July 2016). Read extracts from the interview on the KPCC Airtalk website.
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July 2016
"The ever swinging police-community pendulum." New York Daily News, Op-Ed, Malcolm Sparrow, Sunday 10th July 2016

Access online here, or download a printable pdf version here.
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Upcoming Events

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September 2016
HKS Executive Program "Strategic Management of Regulatory & Enforcement Agencies" (SMREA)

SMREA is a one-week executive program focusing on the distinctive strategic and managerial challenges that surround government agencies' regulatory and enforcement functions. The course will be offered (for the 31st time at Harvard) from Sunday 25th to Friday 30th September 2016. Professor Sparrow chairs the program, and other faculty teaching include Professors Mark H. Moore and Rob Stavins.

Here you may view Course Details & Description, download Brochures, and/or Apply Online.
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October 2016
Australia & New Zealand School of Government, Executive Program in Wellington, New Zealand

Professor Sparrow will be chairing an executive program offered by the Australia & New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) in October 2016.

Managing Regulation, Enforcement & Compliance, a one week program, will be delivered in Wellington from 16th to 21st February, 2016. Visit the ANZSOG course website for a course description, brochures, online registration, and an explanatory video.
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Recent News/Events

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August 2016
National Council of the State Boards of Nursing: Annual Meeting, Chicago.

The NCSBN held its annual conference in Chicago, August 17th-19th. Professor Sparrow delivered the Keynote Address on 18th, entitled "What is a Risk-Based Regulator, and would you like to be one?"
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Health Care Fraud: Recent media accounts quoting Malcolm Sparrow, or citing his work include:

August 10, 2016: Corporate Crime Reporter: "Why Corporate Fraud Demands Criminal Time" Robert Tillman
June 25, 2016: NPR: "The Ralph Nader Radio Hour" with Professor Sparrow as guest to discuss Health Care Fraud
June 22, 2016: NPR Marketplace: "Feds Make Arrests in Alleged Medicaid, Medicare Scheme" Dan Gorenstein
June, 2016: AARP Bulletin: "The War on Medicare Fraud: Medicare loses $60 billion each year to con artists. Here's why" Joe Eaton
March 31, 2016: Center for Investigative Reporting: "How California's health care system for workers forgot about fraud" Christina Jewett
January 11, 2016: Pacific Standard Magazine: "Glitch in the Machine" Joe Eaton
November 4, 2015: CNBC: "The pain killer: A drug company putting profits above patients" Dina Gusovsky
June 2015: AARP Bulletin: "New Medicare Scams Spread Across U.S." Tom Dunkel
May 18,2015: The Complete Colorado: "Colorado invites Medicaid Fraud" Linda Gorman
Spring 2015: Criminal Justice, American Bar Association: "Health Care Fraud" Kirk Ogrosky
April 23, 2015: NPR: "More Whistleblowers Say Health Plans Are Gouging Medicare" Fred Schulte
April 23, 2015: The Center for Public Integrity: "Medicare Advantage Money Grab" Fred Schulte
March 24, 2015: The Harvard Law Record: "20 Things You Should Know About Corporate Crime" R. Mokhiber
January 13, 2015: Mercatus Center, GMU: "Is Federal Spending Too Big to be Overseen?" V. de Rugy & J. Fitchner
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July 2016
New York Times Book Review of "Handcuffed: What Holds Policing Back, and the Keys to Reform" by Malcolm K. Sparrow

Listen to "Inside the New York Times Book Review," 1st July 2016 podcast with NYT Book Review Editor Pamela Paul interviewing reviewer Barry Friedman (edited to those sections of the program relating to Friedman's review of "Handcuffed")

The NYT review of "Handcuffed," 27th June 2016, is available here.
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June 2016
National Public Radio: Professor Sparrow interviewed on "The Ralph Nader Radio Hour"

On June 25th 2016 Ralph Nader welcomed Professor Sparrow as a guest on his weekly radio show to discuss Health Care Fraud. You can listen to, or download, the interview here.
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April 2016

“Handcuffed: What Holds Policing Back, and the Keys to Reform" published by Brookings Institution Press, Washington DC.

See Brookings Announcement: The Crisis in American Policing, by Malcolm Sparrow (25th April 2016)

Listen to "Re-Humanizing Policing," interview on Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC (16th May 2016)

Listen to "Brookings Now" Podcast interview (audio), Malcolm Sparrow with Bill Finan, Editor, Brookings Institution Press

See Salon Magazine: Why we can't reform our cops: Race, guns & the failure to police the police by Malcolm Sparrow (Sunday 1st May 2016)

See WGBH Forum Network video: (recording of the Harvard Book Store Event, Friday 20th May 2016, Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Professor Sparrow's 8th book examines the current crisis in policing, and traces its roots back to the fact that the reform ideas of community and problem-oriented policing--accepted as the conventional wisdom for police reformers in the 1990's--have failed to thrive. In this book Sparrow examines why, and lays out what needs to be done to get policing back on track.

For details, reviews, and information about placing advance orders, click here (or on the image of the book to the left).

Publisher's Description:

Whatever happened to community and problem-oriented policing?  How the current crisis in policing can be traced to failures of reform.

The police shooting of an unarmed young black man in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, sparked riots and the beginning of a national conversation on race and policing. Much of the ensuing discussion has focused on the persistence of racial disparities and the extraordinarily high rate at which American police kill civilians (an average of three per day).

Malcolm Sparrow, adopting a more global view of the police profession, argues that other factors—critical flaws in the more general development of police theory and practice over the last 25 years—have substantially contributed to the current crisis in policing. 

Sparrow shows how the reform ideas of community and problem-solving policing, adopted as conventional policing wisdom by the 1990s, have failed to thrive.  Many departments give these ideas mere lip-service, and still define their success by reference to narrow quantitative metrics—tallying up traffic tickets issued (Ferguson), or arrests made for petty crimes (in New York)—focusing closely on official (but unreliable) crime statistics while exercising inadequate control over policing tactics and style.   

Sparrow says police must escape their narrow focus and perverse metrics, and turn back to making public safety and public cooperation their primary goals.  Police departments, he argues, are fundamentally in the business of risk-control and harm-reduction, with profound implications for policing strategy, methods, measurements, analysis, and the nature of community interactions.

Reviewed: Publisher's Weekly, 11th April 2016:

"In the wake of a rash of police killings of unarmed people, most of them African-American, U.S. law enforcement is in crisis. In this timely volume, Sparrow (The Character of Harms: Operational Challenges in Control), who combines experience as a U.K. detective chief inspector with academic rigor, presents a valuable guide to the pressing problem of how policing can be effective without losing popular support. He begins with an analysis of why, three decades after the concept of community policing was widely accepted, many forces, including in Ferguson, Mo., have not adopted its principles. He notes that the Ferguson department was hampered by the political decision to focus on revenue enhancement, a policy that dramatically increased focus on minor offenses that could generate fines for the city. Sparrow goes on to observe that the NYPD's more logical central imperative—to lower the reported crime rate—has created a distortion analogous to Ferguson's in the absence of effective counterbalancing controls and attention to other valuable indicators of the quality of police performance. His commentary is coupled with a strategic approach to policing that offers a positive way forward."
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May 2016
"The Modern Regulator" offered by Professor Sparrow through ANZSOG, in Melbourne, Australia

On May 9th 2016, Professor Sparrow presented a 1-day workshop entitled "The Modern Regulator: Balancing better business with strong protection." The event was hosted by the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG). During his trip, he also worked with New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority, Australia's Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency, Australia's Department of Education & Training, and the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority.
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January 2016
"Preventing Harm--A Discussion with Malcolm Sparrow"

A video interview recorded by the Victoria Managed Insurance Authority during Professor Sparrow's visit to Australia in November 2015 is presented via YouTube. You can download a copy of the video here
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October/November 2015
Professor Sparrow hosted by ANZSOG in Australia and New Zealand.

Professor Sparrow chaired the Australia & New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) 1 week executive program Managing Regulation, Enforcement & Compliance in Brisbane, Australia. During this visit to Australia & New Zealand, Professor Sparrow also conducted seminars for the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (Australian Department of Health), the Australian Children's Education & Care Quality Authority, the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority, and the Victoria Managed Insurance Authority.
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October 2015
"Environmental Crime and Collaborative State Intervention," editors Grant Pink & Rob White, published by Palgrave Macmillan. The "Foreword" was written by Professor Sparrow.

See publisher's information about the book here.
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September 2015
3rd International Conference of Dental Regulators, 16th September 2015, in Boston

Professor Sparrow delivered the Keynote Speech at the International Conference for Dental Regulators, hosted by the American Dental Association (ADA) on 16th September 2015 in Boston. See the ADA conference website for details.
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May 2015
Professor Sparrow hosted by ANZSOG in Australia and New Zealand.

Professor Sparrow delivered a 1-day workshop in Sydney on May 15th, hosted by the Australia & New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) in Sydney, Australia. This program introduces participants to the concept of risk-based regulatory practice, and examines the manner of constructive interaction between professional regulators and red-tape reduction and deregulatory movements.

On May 17th Professor Sparrow delivered a Keynote Speech and workshop on Risk-Based Regulation at the annual conference of the Australian Medical Boards, held in Adelaide.

During this visit to Australia, he also conducted seminars for the Australian Skills Quality Regulator, the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, the Department of Immigration & Border Protection, the Australian Institute for Teaching & School Leadership, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Infrastructure & Regional Development, and the Department of the Environment.
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March 2015
“Measuring Performance in a Modern Police Organization” published jointly by the National Institute of Justice & Harvard. Release date: March 23rd 2015.

Redefining Success in Policing: Policing in America is at a turning point. For two decades the emphasis in many departments has been on relentlessly driving down reported crime rates, often using technical means, aggressive street-order maintenance tactics, and huge numbers of arrests. While effective crime control still counts, recent events have highlighted the importance of paying attention as well to means, moderating policing styles, respecting constitutional rights, eliminating bias, using no more force or coercion than necessary, and engaging effectively with communities.

In this timely paper Sparrow addresses one of the key obstacles to progress: The police profession has long used narrow definitions of success which place inordinate emphasis on a very short list of quantitative indicators--reported crime rates, arrest rates, clearance rates and response times. Police executives, he says, now need a much broader conception of the policing mission, a more expansive view of the range of community problems they can affect, and a clear understanding of the different types of work that must be integrated within one organization (functional work, process-based work, risk-based work, and crisis-response). Police executives need to become sophisticated users of a significantly broader range of indicators, and they will need some discrete frameworks to help them gauge and manage the multiple dimensions of their departments' performance.

In this paper Sparrow demonstrates how the two classes of metrics that still seem to wield the most influence in many departments--crime reduction and enforcement productivity--would utterly fail to reflect the very best performance in crime control. Real success in crime control, he says, would mean spotting emerging problems early and suppressing them before they did much harm. This performance depends on vigilance, nimbleness in response, and skill. Curiously, success of that type would not produce substantial year-to-year reductions in crime figures, because genuine and substantial reductions are available only when crime problems have first grown out of control. Neither would best practice produce enormous numbers of arrests, coercive interventions, or any other specific activity; because skill demands economy in the use of force and financial resources and rests on the production of artful and well-tailored responses rather than extensive and costly campaigns.

How to define success in a more appropriate, more comprehensive and more balanced way; and then how to measure it.  That's the puzzle Sparrow tackles here. As he says in the paper:

"Yes, of course crime control counts. But what will happen if relentless pressure is applied to lower the reported crime rate, and no counterbalancing controls are imposed on methods, the use of force, or the integrity of the recording and reporting systems? From the public's perspective, the resulting organizational behaviors can be ineffective, inappropriate, and even disastrous."

Malcolm K. Sparrow's paper, "Measuring Performance in a Modern Police Organization" is his 4th and final paper in the current Perspectives Series, which is a product of the second "Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety," a 6-year collaboration between NIJ and HKS' Program on Criminal Justice Policy & Management.

The paper is available as a free pdf here, from the National Institute of Justice, or from the Program on Criminal Justice Policy & Management
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February 2015

Professor Sparrow hosted by ANZSOG in Australia and New Zealand.

Professor Sparrow chaired the Australia & New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) 1 week executive program Managing Regulation, Enforcement & Compliance in Coogee Bay, near Sydney, Australia. This marked the 20th time this course has been offered by ANZSOG in Australia & New Zealand since it was inaugurated in 2006. During this visit to Australia, Professor Sparrow also conducted seminars for the Queensland Department of Natural Resources & Mines; Australian Communications & Media Authority; Victoria Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation; Australian Department of Immigration & Border Protection; New South Wales Department of Trade & Investment; New South Wales Safety, Return to Work, & Support; and the Australian Capitol Territory Government.
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September 2014
“Managing the Boundary Between Public and Private Policing” published by National Institute of Justice.

Malcolm K. Sparrow's paper, "Managing the Boundary Between Public and Private Policing" offers a unique opportunity for police executives to explore the critical issues that arise in collaborative provision of security.

Being in some general sense "for" or "against" private security is not helpful, as such views are inadequately nuanced or sophisticated given the variety of issues at stake. The motivations of private parties will rarely, if ever, be fully aligned with public interests. As public police engage in partnerships and networked relationships involving private and not-for-profit organizations, they become less the deliverers of security and more the orchestrators of security provision. Public police need to understand clearly the motivations and capabilities of each contributor, develop an understanding of the whole system and what it provides, and do their utmost to make sure that overall provision of security squares with their public purpose.

The paper provides a decision framework that police executives can use to help navigate these issues. Executive Committee Member and Former Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis commented, "Police chiefs now have to handle these issues almost every day. All of the scenarios Sparrow describes in this paper had their analogues in Boston. I think the decision framework he has laid out here provides a lot of clarity in a very complex arena."

"Managing the Boundary Between Public and Private Policing" is published as a product of the second "Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety," a collaboration of NIJ and HKS' Program on Criminal Justice Policy & Management.

The paper is available as a free pdf either from the National Institute of Justice, or from the Program on Criminal Justice Policy & Management.
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September 2014
IAMRA 2014: 11th International Conference on Medical Regulation, in London, England

Professor Sparrow delivered the Keynote Address at the Biennial Conference of the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA) held in London on September 9th-12th, 2014. The 2014 conference was hosted by the UK General Medical Council. For program details and handouts, see the IAMRA conference website.

Professor Sparrow's Conference Blog, "Risk-Based Regulation and the Sabotage of Harms" is posted by the GMC.
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May 2014
Australasian Environmental Law Enforcement and Regulators Network (AELERT), posts videos from its annual conference held in Melbourne on November 13th-14th, 2013

Professor Sparrow presented the Opening Keynote Address. The following brief video segments are taken from an interview taped during the conference, in which Professor Sparrow answers some specific questions about developments in regulatory practice:

(1) Why do you describe regulatory practice as a "craft"? video
(2) What does it mean to organize around risks? video
(3) What stops a regulatory organization being nimble (in dealing with emerging or unfamiliar risks)? video
(4) What changes in regulatory practice would you anticipate over the next five years? video
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