Department of Justice Announces the Release of New Reports on Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement

For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, August 5, 2021
COPS Office Public Affairs
(202) 514-9079


WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) today announced the release of a suite of resources on civilian oversight of law enforcement, including: “Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement: Report on the State of the Field and Effective Oversight Practices”; an executive summary, “The Evolution and Growth of Civilian Oversight: Key Principles for Effectiveness and Sustainability”; and nine case studies. Those case studies provide an in-depth look at civilian oversight in Atlanta (GA), Cambridge (MA), Denver (CO), Indianapolis (IN), Los Angeles (CA), Miami (FL), New Orleans (LA), Philadelphia (PA), and Washington, D.C.

These reports represent part of the efforts of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) to expand on, improve, and assist the work of civilian oversight of law enforcement agencies across the country. They provide guidance for oversight practitioners, law enforcement, community organizations, and local officials to further develop effective civilian oversight.

“As the policies, procedures and training requirements of law enforcement agencies across the country have become an increasing focus of the national discussion on law enforcement, these publications couldn’t be more timely,” said Robert Chapman, Acting Director of the COPS Office. “Not only do the reports cover every aspect of civilian oversight, but the nine case studies provide detailed examples of how the process works in different agencies. Other agencies wishing to develop or refine their own oversight efforts will find this information extremely useful.”

The report covers the history of civilian oversight, including how it started and how it continues to grow. Agencies working on their own oversight efforts, or planning to do so, will learn the 13 principles for effective oversight, as well as recommendations for effective practices. The report also covers a variety of aspects of civilian oversight, including budgets, community outreach, the role of the law enforcement agency, and evaluating oversight efforts.

The COPS Office is the federal component of the Department of Justice responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. The only Department of Justice agency with policing in its name, the COPS Office was established in 1994 and has been the cornerstone of the nation’s crime fighting strategy with grants, a variety of knowledge resource products, and training and technical assistance. Through the years, the COPS Office has become the go-to organization for law enforcement agencies across the country and continues to listen to the field and provide the resources that are needed to reduce crime and build trust between law enforcement and the communities served. The COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of more than 134,000 officers.