Commissioner Evans on the Role of Police in a Democratic Society

in Criminal Justice, Faculty News, Featured News Post, MET News, William B. Evans
June 12th, 2014

Commissioner William B. Evans—who was recently appointed in that role, as well as awarded MET’s Roger Deveau Part-Time Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching—will teach Policing in a Democratic Society (MET CJ 750) over 2014 Summer Term 2 starting June 30. Evans spoke to MET Magazine for an upcoming article about the inherent issues that he raises in this criminal justice course:

Commissioner William B. Evans…issues such as secure communities and stop-and-frisk. Stop-and-frisk, for us, is an effective tool if we use it correctly. You know, we obviously have to have reasonable suspicion to do it, but looking at it from the democratic perspective, people don’t like being stopped and frisked. Or, secure communities: should we even be involved in any type of immigration enforcement? Those are topics that we have discussed, and they’re very controversial—both of them—and it’s interesting to have that give-and-take in the classroom. I believe stop-and-frisk shouldn’t be overused, but there are some times that we might have to do it. And so, in a democratic society there are a lot of controversial topics that the police are involved with, like the right to own guns. In a democratic society, we have certain rights and sometimes people feel the police infringe on those rights. It makes for some interesting dialogue.

The course description further explains the delicate issues and gray areas involved: police agencies play a critical role in a democratic society. While seeking to maintain order, enforce the law and deliver services effectively, police agencies are held accountable to a wide-variety of values by a number of powerful stakeholders. Police leaders, managers, and other personnel must understand the complexities of their role in society as well as the political and legal constraints placed on them. By applying theory, policy, and evaluation literature to the cutting-edge practices in the field, this course provides students with an advanced understanding in the field of police leadership, management, strategy, and accountability within a democratic society.