CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, September 16, 2016

Anderson & Burris on Policing and Public Health

Evan D. Anderson and Scott Burris (Center for Public Health Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania and Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law) have posted Policing and Public Health: Not Quite the Right Analogy (Journal of Policing & Society, (fall 2016), Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Policing matters to public health, and it makes sense to consider how greater cooperation and even integration between health and law enforcement systems might lead to new and better approaches to chronic problems at the intersection of health and security. The fact that policing is important to public health does not mean, however, that police work is 'like' public health work, let alone that police agencies and public health agencies share important features in culture and methods that might support better alignment. It may be more useful to focus on the similarities between policing and medicine. Medicine and policing devote most of their energies to addressing the acute needs of individuals, and have relatively little capacity to change upstream structural factors. Each is source of considerable incidental harm. Past and current efforts to align public health and medicine provide useful insights into work at the intersection of policing and public health. In this paper, we pursue analogies between policing and patient-centered care, preventing medical error, reducing over-utilization, and focusing care on high-risk patients. We conclude with an exploration of what a 'culture of health' would add to current police culture.

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