img Proposals

Improving Relations Between Law Enforcement and Minority Groups
ONC Editorial

Jan 19, 2023

The police provide invaluable services to America. But police brutality and poor relations between law enforcement and minority groups remain massive problems. (This proposal is featured in ONC's first book, Let's Fix America. The opinions expressed in this proposal represent the opinions and compromises of the authors.)

Big Picture:

The police force serves to enforce the law as well as ensure the safety of American citizens. Insufficient training has resulted in killings as well as discord between law enforcement and minority groups. This proposal serves to provide a comprehensive approach to ensure that all American citizens are fairly and adequately protected by the police.

Operative Definitions:

  1. Ticket and arrest quotas: As defined by Shaun Ossei-Owusu, writing fellow at The American Prospect, this term refers to “formal and informal measures that require police officers to issue a particular number of tickets or make a certain number of arrests, often within a specific time frame.”
  2. Qualified immunity: A legal policy that protects government officials from being held responsible for constitutional violations for monetary damages under federal law; this is enforced under the assumption that said officials have not broken any obviously pre-established laws.
  3. Excessive force: Instances during which authorities who have the legal right to use force use more than the reasonable amount necessary to pacify a situation.

Important Facts and Statistics:

  1. African American men are killed by police force at a rate three times higher than white men.
  2. As of April 2021, only seven states, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, South Carolina and New Mexico, legally mandate that law enforcement agents wear body cameras.
  3. After education, police departments are the U.S.’ most heavily funded category of local spending. Policing costed local governments a total of $193 billion in 2017 alone.

Four-Point Plan

(1) Mandate body camera usage. Require local, state and federal law enforcement agents to wear body cameras from dispatch until the end of each incident. The movement of individual states strengthening their body camera legislation illustrates the general consensus that body cameras hold police more “accountable and make departments more transparent,” benefiting both the people and the criminal justice system. Body cameras reportedly increase transparency, limit brute force, increase civility and lead to quicker resolutions. Investigations of misconduct can be completed quicker when such evidence is available, saving both time and money. Though it does cost money to invest in the storage of body camera footage, these cameras’ contributions to the attainment of justice will outweigh the costs.

(2) Provide more thorough training to police officers. Officers in all different sectors of law enforcement should be mandated to complete a 35-week police training course that emphasizes de-escalation and highlights the dangers of racial profiling. In the U.S., police training varies in length from 10 to 36 weeks in total, compared to U.S. Navy Seals who train about eight months for a six-week deployment. On average, police departments spend 60 hours on firearm training and 44 hours on self-defense. However, non-lethal weapons like tasers, which can be strong alternatives to guns, only receive an average of eight hours of training, despite manufacturers recommending a training time of 36 hours. During this time, prospective officers should also take the Harvard Implicit Bias Test, which was proven effective in informing officers of their subconscious biases in a 2018 NYPD study.

(3) Restructure the police budget and make additional investments in community programming. All levels of government should work together to redirect one fourth of the national $119 billion police budget—which includes federal, state and local spending—toward further training while investing additional funds toward community programs such as life skills training and family therapy services. By redistributing the U.S. police force budget to fund body camera technology and training, future officers will have the resources they need to serve their communities to the best of their abilities, and accountability will be more fairly monitored. By investing more in community programs, the need for policing will lessen, and the overall well-being of the community will improve.

(4) Ban ticket and arrest quotas. Abolish ticket and arrest quotas on federal, state and local levels and allow officers to respond to dangerous crimes, rather than simply searching to satisfy an arrest requirement. Further, many contend that quota-based systems perpetuate racial profiling. Official abolition of quota systems in policing on all different governmental levels will increase trust, productivity and justice.

Why This Initiative is Important:

The unjustified police killings of many BIPOC in 2020 highlighted the reality of police brutality and sparked further movements for racial justice and equality across the U.S. Meanwhile, many are right to point out that crime rates in inner cities are particularly high and that not all violent interactions between law enforcement and minority groups denote racism. If this policy proposal or others like it are implemented, not only will racial bias and discrimination be combatted more effectively, but police will receive the tools they need to better deescalate situations and diminish the incidence of violent outbreaks between law enforcement and civilians.

Economic Impact (From Our Student Economist Team):

Meaningful numbers could not be calculated for this proposal.

Final Thought for Now:
“The duties which a police officer owes to the state are of a most exacting nature. No one is compelled to choose the profession of a police officer, but having chosen it, everyone is obliged to live up to the standard of its requirements…” - Calvin Coolidge


The following student(s) worked on this nonpartisan proposal: Olivia Bronson, Barton College; Deaven Rector, Morehouse College; Zariya Jeffers, Clark Atlanta University; Anna Birman, College of William and Mary; Paul Samberg, University of Kansas; Katelyn Owens, The Open University; Diego Andrades, University of Southern California; William Duffy, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Shreya Shesadi, Elizabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University; Amane Shuman, Florida International University.

The following individuals worked with our student interns and contributed expertise, wisdom and moral support in the development of this proposal:

  1. Brian Churchill: Police Sergeant, LAPD. Los Angeles, CA.
  2. Thomas Datro: Police Sergeant, LAPD; Doctoral Candidate, University of Southern California. Los Angeles, CA.
  3. Sinead Younge: Professor of Psychology, Morehouse College; Director, Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership. Atlanta, GA.

Note: Not all participants agree with every aspect of this proposal. To arrive at a proposal that takes multiple views into account requires compromise and difficult decisions.


Allen, Keith, Brad Parks, and Hollie Silverman. “Minneapolis police officers must keep body camera turned on during entire response to a call, new policy says.” CNN, 2 Feb. 2021,

“Body-Worn Camera Laws Database.” National Conference of State Legislatures, National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 Apr. 2021,

Chapman, Brett. “Body-Worn Cameras: What the Evidence Tells Us.” National Institute of Justice, 14 Nov. 2018,

Edwards, Frank, Hedwig Lee, and Michael Esposito. “Risk of being killed by police use of force in the United States by age, race–ethnicity, and sex.” PNAS 5 Aug. 2019,

Gutierrez, David. “Why Police Training Must be Reformed.” The Institute of Politics at Harvard University, 9 Jun. 2022,

HEC Paris Insights. “Why Budgets Can Be A Key To Transforming The Role Of The Police In America.” Forbes, 3 Jul. 2020.

Kates, Graham. “Some U.S. police train for just a few weeks, in some countries they train for years.” CBS News, 10 Jun. 2020,

FindLaw Staff. “Excessive Force and Police Brutality.” Findlaw, Thomson Reuters, 2 June 2020,

Norwood, Candace. “Body cameras are seen as key to police reform. But do they increase accountability?” PBS, 25 Jun. 2020,

Ossei-Owusu, Shaun. “Race and the Tragedy of Quota-Based Policing.” The American Prospect, 3 Nov. 2016,

“Police departments in the US: Explained.”, 13 Aug. 2020,

Rose, Joel. “Despite Laws And Lawsuits, Quota-Based Policing Lingers.” NPR, 4 Apr. 2015,

Sobel, Nathaniel. “What Is Qualified Immunity, and What Does It Have to Do With Police Reform?” Lawfare, 6 Jun. 2020,

Stephens, Darrel W. “Police Discipline: A Case for Change.”, Jun. 2011,

Van Ness, Lindsay. “Body Cameras May Not Be the Easy Answer Everyone Was Looking For.”, 14 Jan. 2020,

Worden, Robert, Sarah McLean, Robin Engel, Hannah Cochran, Nicholas Corsaro, Danielle Reynolds, Cynthia Najdowski and Gabrielle Isaza. “The Impacts of Implicit Bias Awareness Training in the NYPD.” The Official Website of the City of New York, Jul. 2020,

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