Author and Educator
Michael Roy Hames-García studies and teaches about inequalities of race, class, gender, sexuality and disability in the criminal justice system from policing and criminal courts to incarceration and reentry. He has served on the civilian review board and police commission for the city of Eugene, Oregon. He is currently Professor of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where his current research looks at community oversight of law enforcement.
Policing in Crisis and the Limits of Community Oversight
This research considers the attitudes, motivations, and experiences of people engaged with overseeing local law enforcement. Police oversight is resisted by police unions as enfeebling and derided by abolitionists as concessionary; yet it has been touted as the gold standard for policing reform since the 1967 Kerner Commission. In addition to extensive archival data, the research draws from in-depth, semi-structured interviews with officials (independent auditors, internal affairs investigators, city bureaucrats, and local politicians), volunteers (police commissioners and review board members), and others (activists, attorneys, and journalists) who participate in community oversight of police and sheriff’s departments. The first phase of the research uses data (including around 50 interviews) from a mid-sized city in the northwestern United States, while the second will include about twice as many interviews from one of the nation’s most populous counties.