Nevada Consortium on Police Reform
is a collaborative project designed to advance police transparency and accountability in the state of Nevada.  The project is sponsored by the law faculty at the William S. Boyd School of Law and public policy professionals at the Center for Democratic Culture at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.  The consortium members include legal scholars with expertise in policing and police administration, sociologists studying public policy and community building, and police administrators at the University Police Services Southern Command.  Our group coordinates its work with the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities, a nonprofit organization supporting data-driven reforms in the Silver State.  The Consortium was created in the wake of Gov. Steve Sisolak's June 5, 2020 press conference where he denounced "double standards" in policing and called for "new policies to address systemic racism" in Nevada police departments.  In keeping with this agenda, the Consortium promotes police reform reflecting best practices that proved successful in various jurisdictions and that promise to improve policing in Nevada.  On the group's agenda is appraisal of existing statutes, analysis of proposed bills, drafting of legislative proposals, and coordinating the efforts of organizations sharing the present reform agenda.  In addition to providing up-to-date information about the Consortium's policy initiatives, the present site assembles online resources on best police practices and reform initiatives to facilitate the work of various stakeholders – elected officials, police administrators, public policy professionals, advocacy groups, and community activists.  The Consortium does not endorse political candidates running for office, and it is guided in its effort by scholarly research, evidence-based recommendations, and non-partisan policy proposals developed by a consensus-driven process.

Consortium team members include professionals with expertise in relevant areas of scholarship and public policy administration.  Our team is led by Frank Rudy Cooper, Professor of Law at William S. Boyd School of Law and Director of the Program on Race, Gender, and Policing, who graduated from Duke University Law School where he was on the Duke Journal of Gender, Law & Policy and the Moot Court Board.  He clerked for the Honorable Solomon Oliver, Jr. (N.D. Ohio), practiced in Boston, and published extensively in premier law journals.  Addie Rolnick holds a J.D. and M.A. in American Indian Studies from UCLA where she served as the inaugural Critical Race Studies Fellow.  Prior to joining the faculty of William S. Boyd School of Law she represented tribal governments as an attorney with a top Native rights firm in Washington, D.C. and honed her skills as a leading advocate on law enforcement and juvenile justice issues.  Stewart Chang is Professor of Law at the William S. Boyd School of Law.  Before joining Boyd he served as the Director of the Center for International and Comparative Law at Whittier Law School and practiced public interest law with the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California where he specialized in domestic violence, immigration, and family law.  Dr. Dmitri N. Shalin, former chair of the UNLV Sociology Department, is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Democratic Culture, coordinator of Justice & Democracy Forum series, editor of the Social Health of Nevada Report, and public policy analysist with expertise in community building and education.  His research interests and publications are in the area of American pragmatist philosophy, public policy, interactionist sociology, emotional intelligence, and comparative culture. The Nevada Consortium on Police Reform coordinates its activity with the Boyd School of Law Program on Race, Gender, and Policing.

Police reform in the news section is devoted to news releases, media appearances, and public service announcements tracking the progress of police reform in Nevada.  Keeping the public informed on legislative initiatives, supplying timely information on changes in local jurisdictions is important part of our agenda.  With this in mind, our team members have offered interviews, published op-ed columns, and exchanged information with advocacy groups on the issues of police accountability.  Our commitment to keeping the public informed is exemplified by a recent op-ed written for The Nevada Independent by our team under the heading Nevada criminal justice reform bill falls far short.  In this column, we took issue with the flawed police reform bill brought up by the legislators and released without proper notice to the public.  After comparing the robust reform bill passed by the Colorado Legislature with the anemic statute that was eventually voted into law by Nevada legislators, we urged creation of a Taskforce on Police Accountability with the mandate to examine best police practices and to recommend a comprehensive police reform bill for the 81st Session of the Nevada Legislature set to begin on February 1, 2021.  In runup to the special session, Addie Rolnick, Stewart Chang, and Frank Rudy Cooper wrote a piece in The Las Vegas Review-Journal on Police tensions in Las Vegas, Frank Rudy Cooper with associates published an essay in The Washington Post on How allowing civil lawsuits against bystander cops could change police culture, Dmitri Shalin penned a 10-point plan to curb police abuse, and Frank Rudy Cooper joined Roberto Villaseñor for a KNPR interview on Why Nevada needs police reform.  More news on police reform in the U.S. and Nevada can be found on this page.

Taskforce on police accountability is an ad hoc commission envisioned by the Consortium that would be constituted by the Nevada Governor and Legislature with the mandate to study best police practices and to report to lawmakers a package of reforms mirroring statuary innovations adopted in other states.  The proposal for creation of Taskforce is aligned with the "Legislative Options for Policing Reform List" that the Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford announced in furtherance of police reform.  In his statement, AG Ford outlined a series of proposals which include, among other things, creation under his jurisdiction of the "Law Enforcement and Public Safety Accountability Unit."  Consortium associates support this initiative and urge the Taskforce on Police Accountability as a vehicle to advance a series of evidence-based recommendations designed to eliminate racial profiling, update standards for use of deadly force, ban retaliation against civilians filing complaints, strengthen the rights of civilians bringing legal action against rogue officers, eliminate qualified immunity shielding problem officers from judicial review, bar use of state funds for purchasing surplus military equipment, formulate minimum standards for police data gathering and reporting, and increase the authority of civilian review boards in the disciplining process.  You can find a series of internal memorandums developed by the Consortium outlining the need for and the scope of the proposed Taskforce on this page.

Internet library on best police practices
is a database of online resources bearing on police practices that have met the test of time and could serve as a template for Nevada police reform.  The data repository includes a wide range of resources such as U.S. Department of Justice Guidelines on Civilian Oversight Process, FBI Report on White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement and Congressional response to this report, the U.S. House Committee Hearings on Policing Practices and Law Enforcement Accountability, The Washington Post Database on Racial Disparities in Fatal Police Shooting, Ferguson Civilian Review Task Force and Baltimore Community Oversight Task Force Recommendations.  Users interested in scholarly work will find a selection of latest law review and social science articles on Cost of hiding police disciplinary records from the public, Challenges facing municipalities implementing civilian police reform, Provisions for reporting use of deadly force, Issues related to police union contracts, American Sociological Association's data repository on police abuse, and the ASA special issue on race, justice and police violence.  To access more resources on best police practices and reform initiatives across the country, click on this link.

Justice & Democracy Forum on police accountability is organized within the framework of the public forum series cosponsored by the William S. Boyd School of Law and Center for Democratic Culture.  The Justice & Democracy Forum brings together politicians, public policy experts, business representatives, and community activists who engage each other on the issues dividing Nevada citizens. The forum series is based on the premise that reform efforts have the best chance to succeed if the major players face each other in a public forum where they can directly explore their differences and work for common solutions.  The forum proceedings are posted on the Center's web site and in some cases covered by The Nevada Law Journal.  Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the J & D Forum on Police Transparency and Accountability will be held in a virtual format.  It will take place in around the time when the Taskforce on Police Accountability releases its recommendations to the Nevada Legislature.  Detailed information about the date and forum program will be posted in this space.

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