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In 2008 the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) jointly embarked on an ambitious project – a second Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety. This first phase of this new Executive Session, which ran from 2008-2011, experienced debates about the efficacy of community policing, the main outgrowth of the first executive session, and the challenge of reducing crime and reducing fear while being viewed as legitimate and just by the community. The Session meetings provoked scholars and practitioners to collaborate on a new series of papers that hope to influence the field in the way the earlier series did. The series of papers from this second Executive Session is called New Perspectives in Policing.
We heard participants pose questions about the future of policing - the role and activities of officers and executives as well as the definition of police operations in the future were identified as priority conversations. The responsibility of police executives with political leaders to redefine mission with a specific ambition of reducing incarceration while reducing crime and fear was raised. Finally, all agree there remains much work to be done around race – both inside the police department and with communities. Other fascinating topics remain unexplored and in the Phase II session from 2011 to 2014, the members were tasked to complete not only the unfinished conversations, but also contribute to the body of published scholarship on these topics deemed critical to all stakeholders of police.