What's the most important thing you are working on right now?
Along with UNLV Law Professor Elizabeth MacDowell and Professor Eric Miller of Loyola-Los Angeles Law School, I am working on a book project on the future of policing. I anticipate investigating whether the Las Vegas Metro Police Department’s (LVMPD’s) reforms should be exported to other cities. The LVMPD had been accused of abuse and entered into a voluntary agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to adopt reforms. It has been lauded for its increased transparency and adoption of de-escalation techniques meant to avoid shootings.
As part of Boyd’s new Program on Race, Gender, and Policing, I want to explore the extent to which reforms are still needed to create respectful policing. Police have a hard job, so we should pay them well. But we should also expect them to be more patient and more skilled at deescalating conflicts than non-professionals. Every civilian should feel that the police regard them as important members of the community they serve regardless of their race, gender, class, or other identity characteristics.
What is it about being a law school professor that inspires or motivates you?
One important aspect of doing scholarship is to want to learn more about a topic. I get joy out of breaking down abstract concepts like Fourth Amendment “reasonableness” based on both the principles behind the concept and the mechanics of the rules. I am inspired to learn, and that makes me want to then share what I have discovered with others. My scholarly impulse is thus bound up with my desire to teach.
I also have grown as a teacher because I have three children. My two daughters have graduated from, or are about to graduate from, college. The fact that they are both considering law school has changed my perspective on teaching. It makes me push the students harder when I think about how much I would expect from my own kids. It also reminds me that some of my students still have some growing to do and I should be as patient with them as I try to be with my own kids.