Press Release UChicago Crime Lab January 24, 2024

University of Chicago Policing Leadership Academy Hosts Second Cohort of Rising Police Leaders from 35 Departments Across the Globe

Police leaders begin months-long leadership and management education program designed to reduce violence.

The Crime Lab logo.

CHICAGO, IL – This week, the University of Chicago Policing Leadership Academy (PLA) welcomed its second cohort of leaders from police departments across the globe. The new participants began a five-month educational program on data-driven management, violence reduction, and building community trust. The impacts of this ambitious leadership and management program are being measured and rigorously evaluated through a randomized controlled trial to ensure it achieves its interconnected goals: reducing violence and increasing the fairness and effectiveness of policing.

“The goal of the PLA is to reduce violence in communities across America. We are honored to welcome our next cohort of students in service that goal,” said Meredith Stricker, Director of the PLA. “By focusing on excellence in leadership and management, we aim to help police organizations better serve their communities.”

The PLA’s second cohort consists of 35 rising police leaders from 35 police departments across the country and the world. These leaders are tasked with managing America’s highest violence police districts every day. Collectively, the first and second cohorts of leaders serve 41 jurisdictions comprising over 28% of homicides in America. Police leaders from Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom are also joining the program.

“It is an absolute honor that the San José Police Department was selected by the prestigious University of Chicago to participate in their Police Leadership Academy,” said Chief Anthony Mata, San José Police Department, CA. “Our goal is to develop evidence-based methods that will help us improve our violence reduction strategies in order to keep our city safe while further building trust and confidence in our communities.”

The PLA is part of the University of Chicago Community Safety Leadership Academies, which, along with the Policing Leadership Academy, includes the Community Violence Intervention (CVI) Leadership Academy.

The PLA is not a one-off training exercise; it’s an education. Its five-month curriculum is hands-on and interactive, culminating in a community capstone project to actualize and operationalize the skills they learn. Researchers from the world’s leading universities are conducting a multi-city, randomized controlled trial to measure the PLA’s impact on safety and fairness outcomes in America’s highest violence neighborhoods.

Research by the University of Chicago Crime Lab shows that changes in police department management can drive reductions in both violent crime rates and police use of force. For example, thirty years ago, the murder rates in Los Angeles and New York City were at their respective historic highs. But from then through the start of the pandemic, murders dropped by fully 80% in LA and 90% in NYC – while trust in police increased and incarceration rates declined. The PLA was designed with a simple question in mind: Why were LA and NYC so successful in reducing their homicide rates after historic highs in the 1990s? Part of the answer is that LA and NYC were early adopters of data-driven management policies and practices.

“Improved police management and leadership plays a crucial role in shaping the well-being of our cities. Investing in the professional development of law enforcement is not just a commitment to public safety but a cornerstone for thriving communities,” said Michael Nutter, advisor to the Academy and former mayor of the City of Philadelphia. “The PLA stands as a testament to the University of Chicago’s dedication to equipping our officers with the skills and knowledge needed to ensure safety and prosperity go hand in hand.”

A team of policing experts from across the country are helping to lead the initiative: Former Chief of Department Kenneth Corey, a 34-year veteran of the New York City Police Department; Former Assistant Chief Dr. Sandy Jo MacArthur, a 35-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department; and Dr. Luann Pannell, a former Police Psychologist with the Los Angeles Police Department and former Director of Police Training and Education.

Localities represented in the Academy’s second cohort are:

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Boston, MA
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Charleston, SC
  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Chicago, IL
  • Columbus, OH
  • Dallas, TX
  • Dayton, OH
  • Garda Síochána, Ireland
  • Gila River Indian Community
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Jackson, TN
  • Kansas City, KS
  • London, UK
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Miami, FL
  • Miami-Dade County, FL
  • Montgomery County, MD
  • Navajo Nation
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Paterson, NJ
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Portland, OR
  • Portsmouth, VA
  • Sacramento, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Tacoma, WA
  • Tampa, FL
  • Toronto, ON
  • US Capitol Police

The University of Chicago Community Safety Leadership Academies is an initiative of the University of Chicago Crime Lab. It includes the Policing Leadership Academy (PLA) and the Community Violence Intervention (CVI) Leadership Academy, first-of-their-kind programs to train the next generation of policing and community violence intervention leaders from across America.

The Community Safety Leadership Academies were launched with a leadership gift from Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel and founder of Griffin Catalyst, and a gift from Michael Sacks, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GCM Grosvenor. The CSLA is also supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Keegan Bonebrake, Bulls Community Assist Fund, and White Sox Community Fund, which are both funds of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation (support for the CVILA), Dalio Education, John DeBlasio/DeBlasio Family Foundation, Thomas and Susan Dunn, Matt Hinerfeld and Nora Jaskowiak, IMC, Ken O’Keefe, Motorola Solutions Foundation, Neubauer Family Foundation, Options Clearing Corporation, RJ Melman and Lettuce Entertain You, Jeff and Maggie Shapack and Shapack Partners, and United Airlines.

Download the press release here.