Tracey Meares: Policing and Its Reform in the 21st Century

In light of all the dark incidents that have been taking place in our nation, Professor Tracey Meares offered the Rutgers community some hope in her lecture, Policing and Its Reform in the 21st Century. The Walton Hale Hamilton Professor and director of the Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School chose to give her Constitution Day speech here on behalf of the Eagleton Institute of Politics.

traceymeareseditMeares is the first African American professor to be offered tenure at both The University of Chicago and Yale Law School. Her studies primarily focus on criminal procedure and criminal law policy, which has become a hot topic in recent news. In 2014 President Obama named Meares as a member of his task-force on policing in the 21st century.

While black men are killed at the hands of police officers who fear the color of our skin, a community is at lost of who to call when in need nor do they understand where to turn.

“There is a history of police resisting the attempts of black men trying to execute their rights”

Police effectiveness has been defined by how police officers can regulate crime in their jurisdictions, yet it is unclear how numbers of innocent black men are killed in the midst of this task. The men who are here to protect and serve have been poorly trained and the outstanding loss of black life has shown in their policing tactics.

Meares brought up the bigger ideas when it comes to police brutality and explains how the issues are more deeply rooted than we think. Meares referred to the unconstitutional aspects of police brutality as the “leading edge of a constellation of issues” that are far more complex than just the involvement of The Supreme Court in a case-to-case matter.

“All branches of government must work together to push justice forward”

After Presidential candidate Donald Trump considers “Law and Order” and Stop-and-Frisk as practical procedures to combat crime, it has never been more clear of the kind of America he plans to implement. She expressed how important it is for young people to get involved, which starts with a simple vote. The injustices that are taking place in our country are not new, we just haven’t found a way to combat them.

All in all, the take away from this lecture is to be the change. Use your voice. Understand the law if you want to do something about the injustice in this country. It starts with a vote on election day and goes from there. Young people are so powerful and have more say than we may realize. Meares left us optimistic and empowered with this quote:

“Work for an America where everyone counts.”

Below: BSU E-board with Tracey Meares


Read her full biography here.

Listen to Part 1 of 6 as Tracey Meares talks about “Understanding Deterrence and Legitimacy in Law Enforcement” in the video below.



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