By: Bill Wellock | Published: | 11:38 am

The trial of Derek Chauvin — a former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd — is underway. 

Police reform became a major issue during the 2020 presidential campaign after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis last May and subsequent protests.

Florida State University has experts available to offer context on issues around policing and police reform.

Emma E. Fridel, assistant professor, College of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Fridel researches violence and aggression with a focus on homicide, including school violence, homicide-suicide, serial and mass murder and fatal officer-citizen encounters.

 “Any discussion of police reform — especially related to use of force — is incomplete without considering the broader social context in which these incidents occur. Prior research has shown that fatal officer-citizen encounters are more likely to occur in neighborhoods with high levels of socioeconomic disadvantage, violent crime and gun availability. Aside from making changes at the agency level, such as implementing body-worn cameras and implicit bias training, policymakers should also reinvest resources in the historically neglected communities in which violent police-citizen encounters disproportionately occur.”

James E. Wright II, assistant professor, Askew School of Public Administration and Policy, College of Social Sciences and Public Policy

Wright researches policing, law enforcement agency management and race. He has examined the impacts of body cameras on racial disparities in policing, the impacts of providing public access to police misconduct allegations, officer decision-making during police stops, how physical appearance impacts use of force and community protests, among other issues.

“Police reform in America is such a complex issue. To understand policing, one must examine the local and state context for how police organizations have historically operated. As a new administration gets ready to transition into office, there is some work that can be done federally including consent decrees, national data collection and mandating universal trainings but most of the work will come at the local level, through things like police union contracts, diverse hiring practices and civilian oversight agencies.”