Our Work

We are working with criminal justice experts, community members, the police, and many others to write model rules and policies for policing.

Rules are how we govern society. They are what make us a “government of laws.” While policing agencies have their own rules, these rules rarely are developed with public input and sometimes are not public at all. Quite naturally, those rules do not always keep up with the rapid pace of change in technologies and practices. Many policing agencies, for example, lack rules for drones and Tasers, facial recognition and automatic license plate readers, roadblocks and databases.

Few policing agencies have the resources to formulate policies from scratch. That’s where we come in.

Policing Project Director Barry Friedman is the reporter for the American Law Institute’s Principles of the Law, Police Investigations. Advisers on the project include representatives from policing agencies, prosecutors and defense attorneys, judges, community activists, academics, and others. The ALI project is designed to draft principles that can guide the activities of policing agencies throughout the country, and serve as a template for legislative bodies, communities, and courts.

Students in NYU Law’s Democratic Policing seminar, and externs to the Policing Project, are drafting model rules on practices ranging from the use of SWAT teams and facial recognition software to consent searches and cops in schools.