Tracey Meares, Yale Law School: Uncovering Police

Feb 16, 2023, 12:00 pm1:20 pm
Faculty, fellows, and graduate students only


Event Description

This 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.

Center for the Study of Democratic Politics (CSDP)