Embracing a Commitment to Policing Reform and Reinvention

Left to right, Robert L. Miller Jr. of the School of Social Welfare and Robert E. Worden of Rockefeller College.

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 8, 2020) – With the goal of advancing police-community relations and eliminating racial inequities, the City of Albany recently announced the formation of the Policing Reform and Reinvention Collaborative — and the University at Albany is working to support its success.

The Collaborative, which follows New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s directive to reinvent and modernize police strategies and programs, includes UAlbany faculty members who are experts on community and policing. UAlbany staff members also are helping to set the tone for the Collaborative’s work by leading discussions and dialogue exercises.

The Collaborative held its first meeting on Aug. 18, and members participated in an exercise hosted by UAlbany Director of Intercultural Student Engagement Ekow King and Multicultural Resource Center Coordinator Amberly Carter.

King and Carter also will assist with the second meeting of the group, which is tasked with developing a report in April 2021.

Among the Collaborative members are UAlbany researchers Robert L. Miller Jr. of the School of Social Welfare and Robert E. Worden of the School of Criminal Justice.

Miller teaches social work practice courses, Cultural Diversity in Social Work and Spirituality and Social Work, as well as the African Policy and Social Work course in the MSW program. As director of The U.S.-Africa Partnership to Build Stronger Communities, Miller manages the study tour portion of the African Policy course.

“Bob has deep expertise in identifying interventions that promote cultural diversity and social justice goals at both individual and community levels; his experience is well-suited to the Collaborative’s re-envisioning charge, and will shine light on the important role that professional social workers can play as police reforms unfold,” said Social Welfare Dean Lynn Warner.

“This is a troubling time in America,” Miller said. “There is a lot of work to do. While grateful to be a member of the collaboration, I remain deeply troubled by the persistent violence against unarmed Black men in this country. I am hopeful that people of goodwill can make the hard but necessary decisions for the good of Albany's civil society."

Worden, an associate professor in Criminal Justice, is a political scientist whose research revolves around questions about the accountability and responsiveness of criminal justice institutions to the public, with a specific focus on police behavior as well as police programs and reforms. His scholarship has appeared in a number academic journals, and his research has been funded by the National Institute of Justice, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and a number of local governments.

“Professor Worden is an excellent choice to offer theoretical, empirical and practical insights to the Collaborative’s work,” said Dana Peterson, Criminal Justice senior executive director. “His experience in these matters, combined with the collective expertise of Collaborative members, will provide positive guidance for policing strategies in the Albany area.”

“With a deep history of research on policing, police decision-making, and police accountability, plus his previous work with the Albany Policy Department, Rob is uniquely qualified to advise the Policing Reform and Reinvention Collaborative,” said Dean R. Karl Rethemeyer of the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, which includes the School of Criminal Justice. “He continues a long tradition of practical engagement with pressing policy issues by faculty in the Rockefeller College.”

“There has perhaps never been a time when a careful, dispassionate and evidence-based assessment of police practice and governance is more important than it is in 2020,” said Worden. “I’m pleased to be a part of Albany’s Collaborative, and hope that I can contribute.”

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.