RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C — As nationwide unrest continues to occur throughout the U.S. in forms of protests across cities, most recently violent looting in Chicago, a common call to action has been to ‘defund’ the police. The protests, amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, have left uncertainty on what defunding the police or other areas of police reform would look like and few answers on next steps from federal or local governments.
Renée Mitchell, PhD, senior policing researcher at RTI International (RTI), a nonprofit research institute, was a 22-year member of the Sacramento Police Department and can speak to implementing evidence-based policing strategies throughout the U.S.
Dr. Mitchell recently spoke to CNN on-air about facing the realities of racism and unconscious bias in policing. She explained that police reform should stem from top-down leadership within departments and be based on managing what officers are doing in the field at an aggregate level, rather than only monitoring crime fluctuations. Unconscious bias only appears in aggregate data and thus should be addressed through evidence-based managerial practices by empowering officers to make decisions at their discretion while simultaneously incorporating additional management and guidance.
She is one of the key experts in RTI’s policing research efforts including work focused on how local jurisdictions can better use 911 calls for service to manage crisis response, enhancing the law enforcement response and engagement with victims of residential burglary, work to identify approaches for recruiting female police officers, and research to develop improved prevalence estimates for sex trafficking in Sacramento County.
Dr. Mitchell is the co-founder of the American Society of Evidence-Based Policing and a current executive committee member, a member of the California State Bar, the American Society of Criminology, and the International Association of Crime Analysts. She spoke at a TedX event on her experiences in policing and is a co-author of the forthcoming book; “Implementing Evidence Based Research: A How to Guide for Police Organisations.”
To request an interview, contact the RTI Newsroom at email@example.com.