Watch: Speaker Series with Tracey Meares


Past Event

Watch: Speaker Series with Tracey Meares

November 6, 2023
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
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Watch the recording of our Speaker Series with Tracey Meares

About the Talk

Uncovering Police

This talk based on an essay focuses on thinking through the concept of Police contained in the legal idea of the police power as a path to transform the contemporary police service.  The essay has three parts.  Part one details the long history of Police in governance by highlighting the fact that the legal reality of Police is deeper and broader than the group of uniformed individuals who carry guns and who are called to respond to citizen-denominated problems. In the United States, the extensive roots of the police power are intertwined with the development of the modern state, and the history makes clear that the concept of Police is more than adequate to accommodate the transformation of policing that many advocates today urge. Part two explores the problems with the breadth and ambiguity of Police.  This part shows Police is difficult to contain, but this very ambiguity is a strength in that it makes clear there is no natural or obvious shape of Police and, therefore, no natural or obvious shape of the policing service itself.  Part three offers a potential legal path to elucidation and limitation of Police – state constitutional law.

About the Speaker

Tracey Meares

Tracey L. Meares is the Walton Hale Hamilton Professor and a Founding Director of the Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School. Before joining the faculty at Yale, she was a professor at the University of Chicago Law School from 1995 to 2007, serving as Max Pam Professor and Director of the Center for Studies in Criminal Justice. She was the first African American woman to be granted tenure at both law schools.

Professor Meares is a nationally recognized expert on policing in urban communities. Her research focuses on understanding how members of the public think about their relationship(s) with legal authorities such as police, prosecutors and judges. She teaches courses on criminal procedure, criminal law, and policy and she has worked extensively with the federal government having served on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Law and Justice, a National Research Council standing committee and the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs Science Advisory Board.

In April 2019, Professor Meares was elected as a member to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In December 2014, President Obama named her as a member of his Task Force on 21st Century Policing. She has a B.S. in general engineering from the University of Illinois and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.

This series is supported by funding from the Institute of Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP) at Columbia University.