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James R. Bueermann

  • First Inductee; Inducted December 2009
  • Nominated by David Weisburd, George Mason University

Biography:

Jim Bueermann is currently the President of the Police Foundation in Washington, DC. He was Chief of Police in the Redlands, CA Police Department until his retirement in June 2011. He has worked for the Redlands Police Department since 1978, serving in every unit within the department. He was appointed Police Chief and Director of Housing, Recreation and Senior Services in May 1998.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from California State University at San Bernardino and a master’s degree from the University of Redlands. In addition, he is a graduate of the FBI’s National Academy in Quantico, Virginia and the California Command College.

In 1994, he directed the implementation and strategic development of Community Policing in Redlands. His efforts included directing the consolidation of Housing, Recreation and Senior Services into the police department in 1997 as a preventative strategy for reducing crime and adolescent problem behavior in Redlands. In early 2007, he was named Honorary Fellow to the Academy of Experimental Criminology.

 

Evidence-Based Research and Practice:

Jim Bueermann’s advocacy for evidence-based practice and support of researcher and practitioner partnerships has produced several key studies of crime and policing in Redlands, California, listed below. He has also introduced other innovative, evidence-based approaches to his department, transitioning his entire police department from beat patrol to hot spots patrol; training officers in evidence-based approaches, using the evidence-based policing matrix as a part of department planning processes, and making knowledge of research and evidence a part of officer rewards and promotions.

 

Publications and projects reflecting Chief Bueermann’s efforts:

  • Groff, E.R., Kearley, B., Fogg, H., Beatty, P., Couture, H., & Wartell, J. (2005). A randomized experimental study of sharing crime data with citizens: Do maps produce more fear? Journal of Experimental Criminology, 1(1): 87-115
  • Davis, R.C., Weisburd, D., & Edwin E. Hamilton (2007). Preventing Repeat Incidents of Family Violence: A Randomized Field Test of a Second Responder Program in Redlands, California. National Institute of Justice. Final Report
  • Weisburd, D., Morris, N.A., Ready, J. (2008). Risk-focused policing at places: An experimental evaluation .Justice Quarterly, 25(1): 163-200
  • Weisburd, D., Hinkle, J. Famega, C. & Ready, J. (2011). The possible “backfire” effects of hot spots policing: An experimental assessment of impacts on legitimacy, fear and collective efficacy. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 7(4)297–320.

Statement from Chief Bueermann:

If we are lucky, at some time in our lives comes recognition that is profoundly meaningful, not simply in a professional way, but also on a deeply personal level, because it comes from people we admire for their own selfless contributions to humanity. These recognitions reaffirm our beliefs that the challenges we overcame – and whatever risks were took to do so – were truly worth it. Such is the case for me in accepting this honor from the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy for my work in attempting to bridge the gap between researchers and policing practitioners.

There has never been a more important time for us to embrace the need for high quality research about what works in policing. The economic challenges police departments face across America have never been more acute. The need for police departments to more effectively serve their communities has never been more pressing. Moreover, the need for police officers to enhance their legitimacy in the eyes of the people they serve has never been more crucial than it is today.

For the first time in the careers of most police executives, cities in every region of the country are either laying off police officers or leaving substantial numbers of officer positions unfilled. My own department, for example, has lost more than 30% of its employees because of the persistent economic downturn. At the same time, community expectations of policing and other governmental services have not lowered. Nor in my opinion should they. If we want our communities to function in a systemically healthy manner, then we cannot allow local government to be solely about police and fire departments. Parks, libraries and recreation centers must all continue to help prevent crime and enhance the quality of life for everyone. But for this to occur, we must think differently about crime research and policing strategies. We must build better and more responsive policing models that reflect the science of crime control and operationalize strategies that research proves work.

Members of our communities have every right to expect – in fact, demand –  that our leaders find better, more effective ways of enhancing community safety without damaging public confidence in the democratic institutions responsible for public safety. Evidence-based policing provides one of the clearest, most achievable means of accomplishing this goal.

Our world is becoming increasingly more complicated, and, as a result, policing itself has become more complicated. The Internet and video-capable camera phones now facilitate the almost instantaneous global distribution of videos depicting police officers engaged in what may appear to be biased and unfair behaviors or even acts of brutality against the same people they took an oath to protect. Our society is more diverse than at any point in history. Along with the greatness and rich nature of this diversity comes seemingly inevitable tension between the police and people in the communities they serve. Police legitimacy should be at the forefront of every police chief’s mind. Crime, as a function of societal evolution, is changing and becoming more complicated. Our workforces are changing and internal generational differences are undeniable. What made sense for police executives 20 or 30 years ago as young cops does not necessarily make sense for the young cops of today. All of these things – and many, many more – make evidence based policing imperative for the successful policing organizations of the future.

It is within the framework of evidence-based approaches to crime control that policing and elected leaders will find relief from the economic pressures surrounding the traditional approach of adding more cops to police departments to combat crime. Even though it is clear to me that “cops count” in controlling crime, the reality is we will have to work smarter, with fewer police officers, doing more effective police work. And it is within the framework of evidence-based policing that we will find the scientific rationale for engaging in the kind of policing our hearts should be telling us is right for our communities – legitimate, democratic style policing that recognizes the respect and dignity everyone in this country deserves. I am proud and honored to have been part of this movement.

 

Testimonials:

Commander Tom Fitzmaurice, Redlands Police Department: “Jim’s willingness to accept personal risk as a law enforcement professional in order to further the advancement of law enforcement through cutting edge research such as evidenced based policing is a trademark characteristic of his leadership style. … His contributions to the future success of law enforcement do not simply reflect his own personal actions which have been significant, but more importantly reflect the effect he has had on entire generations of police officers influencing them to carry on the same relentless pursuit of knowledge and evidenced based practices that he has sought out his entire career.”

Sergeant Rachel Tolber, Redlands Police Department: “Chief Bueermann has consistently championed the role of evidence-based policing, and supported my role within it. In particular, he has focused on risk-factors within our community; has addressed community corrections issues at various levels; has created a variety of lasting collaborations with community organizations; has supported various research projects [as mentioned on this page]; and above all, has supported those of us who desire to continue our education and experiences that support those and many other forms of evidence-based policing practices. It is an honor to work for such a unique visionary.”

 

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