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Police unions, police relations, police reform, public sector unions, police training, collective bargaining, protests, Black Lives Matter


The police shooting of Michael Brown, and the other recent police shootings of black men and boys, gave rise to many important discussions about race, inequality, power, and policing. But one issue not as widely discussed was the the role and propriety of police unions. This Essay describes the history and uniqueness of public sector unions, such as police unions, and why they are both useful and problematic.

This Essay describes ways police unions might be used to help solve the current problems, such as helping to connect officers with the community. The Federal and State governments have provided recommendations for police department reform in the wake of protests, but did they miss an opportunity by leaving out the potential work of police unions?