U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Democratizing the Police Abroad: What To Do and How To Do It

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2001
135 pages
Publication Series
This report examines the process of changing police organizations so as to support democracy.
The report is based on studies of efforts to change police practices in the developed democracies, especially in the United States; accounts of experiences with foreign assistance to police abroad under both bilateral and multilateral auspices; and accounts of the actions of nongovernmental human rights organizations to rectify police abuses. Reforms considered most important in developing a police force that supports democracy are creation of a responsive public-service orientation, adherence to the rule of law, protection of human rights, and transparency with respect to the activities of the police agency and the people within it. Observations about the process of democratic police reform were deemed to be "lessons" if they were generally agreed upon, were based on real-world experience, and pertained to the goal of democratic development. The lessons are organized as: (1) generic reform in any police organization; (2) police reform abroad; (3) police reform in peacekeeping; and (4) managing police reform abroad. The report contains 87 lessons and corollaries implied by the lessons. Notes, bibliography

Date Published: June 1, 2001