Month: June 2020

Recapping “Beyond Thoughts and Prayers” Panel Discussion

Beyond Thoughts & Prayers: Strategies to Eradicate Anti-Black Police Violence

Graphic showing the 6 panelists for the June 25, 2020, Beyond Thoughts and Prayers eventOn Thursday, June 25, 2020, the UConn Department of Public Policy partnered with Professor Brandi Blessett, Associate Professor and Director of the Masters of Public Administration Program at the University of Cincinnati, to present a conversation discussing solutions to the police violence against black people in our country. UConn Professor Thomas Craemer moderated a panel of six experts in law enforcement to discuss topics such as defunding police departments, building relationships between local police and their black communities, and offering a more diverse police force to mirror the communities they represent.

Ivonne Roman, Relationship Manager at the Center for Policing Equity, provided findings from her research on recruitment of women into law enforcement and what women bring to the position.  Studies show that there is less use of excessive force when women police officers are on the call. She also provided insight into the current system for officer accountability. Everyone agreed that police officers have to be held accountable for their actions and that incidents where someone is killed or excessive force is used need to be reviewed by an unbiased investigator.

Jack Mewhirter, Assistant Professor of Political Science at University of Cincinnati, was asked about the militarization of some police forces.  This is a federal program that offers military equipment to local police departments which is disproportionately deployed into communities of color. This deployment is left to the decision of state officials and it is up to citizen outcry to restrict the use of this equipment.

The other panelists, including Frank Adderley, Chief of Police, West Palm Beach Police Department, Rob Kenter, Director of Law Enforcement Field Engagement at the Center for Policing Equity, and Brandi Blessett, offered their thoughts on the impact that defunding police departments would have and the idea of creating positions for mental health professionals in the department to offer their expertise when there is a case of mental distress or homelessness in the field. This often diffuses the situation and leads to less arrests. The police are left to handle the more violent issues.

Brian Williams, Associate Professor of Public Policy at Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, University of Virginia, suggested that we need to deconstruct and then reconstruct.  We need to reimagine the types of communities that we want and then invest in their change.  These means the community must have input into the policies and procedures.

The panel agreed that change has to start at a grassroots level and that the community has to be involved. There also has to be accountability. Whether it be policy or training, the affects have to be followed up on and evaluated.  Is it working?  Are we getting the results we want? Change is going to take time, but change is necessary.

Defining Moments with UConn DPP

Defining Moments with UConn DPP

Jason Jakubowski, MPA '01
Jason Jakubowski, MPA ’01

The Summer Edition of UConn Today was recently released and features two members of the Department of Public Policy’s (DPP) network! This edition, entitled “Our Defining Moments,” highlighted Jason Jakubowski, MPA ’01. Jason is the CEO and President of Foodshare, and was featured for the nonprofit’s emergency distribution system at Rentschler Field, which has been providing food to Connecticut families since March.

Associate Professor Thomas Craemer
Associate Professor Thomas Craemer

Associate Professor Thomas Craemer was also interviewed by CLAS alum Maya A. Moore about reparation payments for American slavery in an article entitled “The New Reparations Math”. The interview occurred just before campus closed mid-way through the spring semester. Craemer discusses various points of reparation payments throughout global history and provides an anecdote about his friendship with a Holocaust survivor who received one of these payments.

Moore’s “In the Moment” note at the bottom of the article addresses the impact of COVID-19, telling a story that many have experienced throughout this pandemic. Loss, confusion, waiting and trying to find routine are some of the hallmarks that Moore highlights. In this ever-changing time the DPP hopes that you and yours are remaining healthy and safe. Know we are here to support you.

Passing of Ashley Hyon, A Positive And Dedicated DPP Alum

The  Department of Public Policy (DPP) is sad to report the passing of one of own. Ashley Hyon, a 2017 MASR alum passed away earlier this week. A supportive alumnus who helped us engage with prospective students across the globe, Ashley was a positive and dedicated member of our network. She embodied the DPP’s commitment to leadership and investigating important problems facing our world. We will miss her and her infectious laugh and spirit.

During this ever-changing time we hope that you and yours are remaining healthy and safe. Know we are here to support you.

– The Department of Public Policy Faculty and Staff

Beyond Thoughts and Prayers: Strategies to Eradicate Anti-Black Police Violence

Beyond Thoughts and Prayers:
Strategies to Eradicate Anti-Black Police Violence

On June 25th, the Department of Public Policy (DPP) and the University of Cincinnati will be hosting a webinar from 5pm - 7pm entitled “Beyond Thoughts and Prayers: Strategies to Eradicate Anti-Black Police Violence"

Modern anti-Black police violence predates the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. This present-day abuse continues a long tradition of Black population control dating back to the days of slavery. Violence against Black people is often accompanied by anti-Black bias in the criminal legal system (including the courts, probation, and parole) and has devastating consequences for Black communities across the nation. Our panelists will come together to think constructively about strategies to eradicate police violence against Black people in the United States. During this conversation we want to interrogate ways to bring about change in order to bring solutions to fruition.


Thomas Craemer

Thomas Craemer, an Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut’s Department of Public Policy, obtained a political science doctorate from the University of Tuebingen, Germany (2001), and Ph.D. from Stony Brook University, New York, (2005). His research focuses on implicit racial attitudes and race-related policies like slavery reparations.


Brandi Blessett

Brandi Blessett is an Associate Professor and Director of the Masters of Public Administration program at the University of Cincinnati. Much of her recent work acknowledges the disproportionate effects the criminal legal system has on people and communities of color. Her research focuses on administrative responsibility, disenfranchisement, and social equity.

Jack Mewhirter

Jack Mewhirter is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Cincinnati. He studies the emergence of society and the policy tools available to correct them. His work examines the organizations charged with the implementation of policies, the factors that impact organizational effectiveness, and the evaluation of implemented policies.

Rob Kenter

Rob Kenter is the Director of Law Enforcement Field Engagement at the Center for Policing Equity, a nonprofit   research center and think tank. He holds a Ph.D. in Public Administration from Old Dominion University and served over 30 years with the Norfolk Police Department before retiring in 2020.

Brian Williams

Brian N. Williams, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Public Policy in the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. As a scholar committed to action research, he examines the interplay between race, policing, and public governance. His work is devoted to redesigning policies and practices that improve police-community relations.

Ivonne Roman

Ivonne Roman has 25 years of experience in policing, serving every rank from police officer to police chief, in the Newark Police Department. In 2017, she established the Women’s Leadership Academy (WLA) within the Newark  Police Superior Officers’ Association, to increase female representation in law enforcement.

Frank Adderley

Frank Adderley is the Chief of the West Palm Beach Police Department. Previously, he served for 10 years as the first African-American Chief of Police in the City of Fort Lauderdale. He is Past President of the Broward Chiefs Association, serves on the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Dangerous Narcotics and Drug Committee, and is a former member of the Florida Commission on the Status of Black Men and Boys.

On June 10, 2020, DPP Department Head Mohamad Alkadry shared his thoughts with students and colleagues:

Dear Colleagues and DPP Students,

We are very saddened by the events that brought anti-Black police violence to the forefront of our national dialogue. After the COVID-19 Pandemic reminded us of the importance of professional public servants to protecting our communities, the murder of George Floyd came to highlight the disparities of outcomes of administrative actions and public policies for people of color. It was beyond devastating to watch George Floyd pleading for his life for nearly 9 minutes without any compassion from other officers who watched him get killed by another officer. Nothing excuses that behavior.

We have seen too many people of color unnecessarily die at the hands of people who are supposed to protect them. The murder of George Floyd is not an isolated incident and it is not one without policy remedies. Therefore, we wanted to provide a forum for our students and colleagues to engage in how we can avoid tragedies like this in the future.

Colleagues from UConn and the University of Cincinnati, and I, are inviting you to a discussion about strategies and policy actions to prevent excessive use of force and violence by law enforcement professionals against people of color.

You will hear from academics and practitioners about strategies to prevent future incidents. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions and make comments.

I hope you will join us on Thursday, June 25th at 5 PM.

Sincerely yours,

Mohamad G. Alkadry

To RSVP to this FREE webinar, please complete this registration form. The webinar link will be sent to you upon registration.