Yale University Leads Investigation of How to Build Effective Police Organizations

A major research collaboration involving the Yale School of Management (SOM), Mexico’s National Commission for Security, the Mexico City Police Department, and Innovations for Poverty Action will study how to create effective, resilient, and trusted police organizations in Mexico. The project, led by Rodrigo Canales, an associate professor of organizational behavior at Yale SOM, recently received a major grant from the Police Professionalization Initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs that will fund a three-year effort engaging dozens of researchers.

The project takes a distinctive approach, based on the premise that police forces are, first and foremost, organizations. It will study the characteristics of federal, state, and local police organizations, including command structures, incentives, training, and hiring practices, and other features of organizational design that systematically lead to better results by enhancing operational effectiveness, increasing organizational resilience, and building trust with the community. The researchers seek to gather data and evaluate police programs using rigorous empirical methods. They will work with government partners to rigorously test and then implement practices that the research identifies as critical or particularly promising.