news releases

2005.06.02 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

UNO Criminal Justice Professor Interviews Founder of 'Problem-Oriented Policing'

Omaha - Herman Goldstein, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin Law School and a forward thinker on the topic of community policing, was the subject of an oral history interview to videotaped at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) on Wednesday, June 1.

Goldstein founded the concept of "problem-oriented policing" (POP), one of the most important innovations in policing during the last 25 years.  POP is a strategy for police departments to address specific community problems--such as graffiti, street prostitution and assaults around bars.  Goldstein was instrumental in advancing the idea that police departments should develop partnerships with community agencies and that they should explore non-criminal justice responses to problems.  The basic ideas of POP are incorporated into most community policing programs across the country today.

Samuel Walker, a UNO criminal justice professor and the coordinator of the Police Professionalism Initiative (PPI), will conduct the oral history interview.  The tape will be edited and made available, at cost, to teachers and law enforcement agencies.

Goldstein has been one of the most influential scholar-practitioners in the history of American policing, Walker said.  He was part of the American Bar Foundation team that conducted the first observational research on policing in the 1950s. That research project shattered traditional views of the police role and how police officers work. The findings of that project eventually led to problem-oriented policing, Walker said.

From 1960 to 1964, Goldstein was executive assistant to the superintendent of the Chicago Police.  In 1964, he joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin Law School and began experimenting with problem oriented policing with the police department in Madison, Wis.

"No single person has had such a profound impact on American policing," Walker said.  "It is extremely important that we get a first-hand account of how he conducted pioneering research, reflected on the findings and developed innovative strategies for improving policing."

 Goldstein was one of the first people to see the need to develop administrative controls over police discretion, Walker said.

"The importance of Professor Goldstein's role in American policing is not recognized by younger people in policing and in the criminal justice field," he said.  "This oral history will provide a permanent record how one person translated research findings into practical action in ways that have transformed policing in America."

For more information, call (402) 554-3502.

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