The blog of the Urban Institute
July 18, 2016

Reflections on research, race, and policing

This post is part of a series from Urban scholars reflecting on recent events involving police use of force and shootings of police. The posts represent the individual thoughts and perspectives of their authors.

Recent events in the areas of law enforcement and public safety have been a topic of much discussion and reflection among Urban scholars. The shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police the week of July 3, followed by the shootings of police in Dallas, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, shook many communities, including our own.

In one discussion, someone pointed out that as citizens, we feel the pain of these events immediately, but as researchers, we are forced to honor the systematic and sometimes long academic process in our attempts to offer solutions and recommendations.

Developing a single blog post on such complex topics proved impossible, so instead we’ve chosen to share reflections from Urban scholars as part of a series on recent events and their broader implications. These posts demonstrate just a few of the perspectives on these tragic events, their roots, and their aftermath.

People and police officers attend a  candlelight vigil for five police officers killed during anti-police brutality protests, in Dallas, Texas, on July 11, 2016.  Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images


As an organization, the Urban Institute does not take positions on issues. Experts are independent and empowered to share their evidence-based views and recommendations shaped by research.