Criminology and justice policy doctoral student Matthew Teti published an article called “Does racial congruence between police agencies and communities reduce racialized police killings of civilians?” in Criminology & Public Policy.
In response to highly publicized, controversial police killings of Black Americans, policymakers and advocates have proposed several police reforms, including a recurrent, decades-long demand for police departments to diversify their forces to better match the racial composition of the communities they serve. The research team drew on a unique police agency-level dataset comprising 1,988 local police agencies and regress measures of police killings of Black, Hispanic, and White Americans from 2013 to 2018 onto racial congruence ratios and other theoretically relevant predictors. The results of this study suggest that for at least some local police departments, increasing the racial/ethnic representation of officers might lower police killings of people of color. This implication offers some optimism amid impassioned demands to decrease police killings of Black Americans, specifically, and reform policing.