In Just Policing: My Journey to Police Reform, Ed Cronin offers new and exciting possibilities and solutions to fix our broken criminal justice system. It is a story of the police empowering communities to overcome issues from deep systemic racism to international crime and corruption and to do so in a way that has brought about tremendous healing and growth to all places and locations that he has worked.
Many police departments and communities of all sizes have been challenged in recent times and even attacked because of issues arising from police shootings of people of color in America. Rather than employing a defensive mode of denying culpability, Just Policing is a story of how community policing, based on deep listening skills, can create strong bonds of trust that can lead to transformation of deep systemic issues, reduction of crime and true participatory democracy for all citizens.
Readers of this book who are concerned about policing in their own community will be well served to have the education, insights and ideas that this book brings to solve questions about where policing in America should go from here.
Chief Cronin's story is about a police executive who broke away from conventional responses to crime in his community. He took the time to immerse himself in the pain of the murders and subsequent grief being felt by his city. He connected directly to the citizens most affected by these horrific crimes. He learned that crime was a symptom of inequality in his city and in our society and by only listening and identifying key leverage points can communities do the work to overcome these injustices.
The work that Chief Cronin did in his city was a first of its kind attempt in the U.S. to add the new concepts of systems thinking and community policing to solve the urgent problems of both the high murder rate and high school dropout rate in his city. With his assembled brilliant task force of like-minded thinkers, he achieved extraordinary results. Fortified by his university education, his professors, and an indigenous Latina named Sayra Pinto, the work engendered a ripple effect through his city and then, across the globe.
Chief Cronin was able to take his work and strategies to an international level in countries in Eastern Europe including Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia. He created and led a program called the Domestic Violence Community Partnership Program that brought training on these crucial issues to police and communities for the first time to cities from Siberia to the Black Sea. Most recently, he worked in Moldova and continued his work on systemic corruption and domestic violence prevention.
His team worked to identify key leverage points to bring about systemic change that would assist police to transform from a Soviet-based militia that concentrated on controlling its people, into a Western, democratic policing method that empowered people in these communities. He identified institutional suppression of women's rights and implemented programs to develop women in leadership positions that contributed to the development and growth of the overall society.
This has become increasingly important during these times of Russian aggression and war in Ukraine. Moldova, a previously "captured state" full of corruption and under strong Russian influence, is now a democratic-leaning country with strong women leadership, increased trust of its police, and serves as a model for democratic development in the world.
Just Policing is a model for police and communities today to go from failure to successful and healthy communities!
I highly recommend this book for people who need to understand the complexity of crime.
Edward Davis, Former Boston Police Commissioner and International Security Consultant