UConn School of Law launches policing center

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A new Center on Community Safety, Policing and Inequality at the University of Connecticut School of Law will be a hub for community engagement, particularly as it relates to policing issues and other aspects of community safety, the law school announced. 

The interdisciplinary center will also advise legislative and judicial efforts toward reform. It will be directed by Kiel Brennan-Marquez, who joined the faculty in 2018 and is an expert in constitutional law and criminal procedure. 

The center is the product of a yearlong planning process. 

“I am very excited about the establishment of this new center, especially at this critical time in our country’s history,” said Eboni S. Nelson, dean of the law school. “It reflects not only UConn Law’s broad expertise in criminal law and related fields but also our commitment to be engaged in local, national and global efforts to help bring about a more just and equitable society.” 

Brennan-Marquez said the big-picture goal of the center is to question the assumption that crime prevention should be the criminal justice system’s overriding priority. This includes, he said, taking stock of the systems of power that leave communities vulnerable in the first place, “such as financial insecurity, residential segregation and immigration status.” 

Researchers will examine police governance and how recruitment and training influence police culture, as well as the ways law enforcement institutions lose public interest and how they can help restore it. 

The center established a student fellowship program and will continue to explore the development of new curricular offerings related to policing and community safety.