Police Officer with Patrol Car in Background
New Publications Guide State Attorneys General on Police Accountability

The Institute for Innovation in Prosecution (IIP) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice announces the release of a first-of-its-kind publication series around the role of state attorneys general in promoting police accountability and oversight. The four-part publication series was released as the culmination of the IIP’s State Attorneys General Police Oversight and Accountability Network project, which brought together state attorneys general, their staff, policing experts, academics, and directly impacted family members for a series of convenings designed to explore the role of attorneys general in reducing and responding to police violence and misconduct. 

Drawing on real-world examples and the expertise of the IIP’s State Attorneys General Police Oversight and Accountability Network, the IIP’s publication series includes best practices and key recommendations for attorneys general in their work to pursue police oversight and accountability. Collectively, the IIP’s reports form the first comprehensive survey of the role that state attorneys general can play in today’s police accountability space. The first paper focuses on how state attorneys general can conduct pattern or practice investigations into police departments, including recommendations for best practices and examples of effective investigations. The second paper focuses on creating and enforcing police accountability mechanisms, including consent decrees and settlement agreements. The third paper focuses on the criminal prosecution of police officers for excessive use of force cases and identifies the various, unique considerations that these prosecutions entail. The final paper identifies concrete strategies to engage communities in police accountability work effectively.

Along with the paper series, the IIP launched a new website devoted to guiding attorneys general on issues of police accountability and oversight. The website includes a video featuring interviews with many of the State Attorneys General Police Oversight and Accountability Network participants.

“Attorneys general bear great responsibility for ensuring justice for their communities—and, now more than ever, that means embracing their role in solving challenges around police misconduct. The IIP launched the State Attorneys General Police Oversight and Accountability Network to position state attorneys general to assume leading roles in the police accountability arena and to provide them with the guidance, tools, and support to develop, strengthen, or launch their office’s work to promote police accountability and oversight,” said Rachel Marshall, Executive Director of the IIP. “Over the course of our project, we have been able to build strong relationships with attorneys general and staff in 15 states and are excited to share the tremendous wealth of knowledge from our network with a broader audience through our publication series. We are grateful to our incredible advisory board, to John Jay College, and to Arnold Ventures, for making this project and paper series possible.”

"John Jay College of Criminal Justice is proud to be the home of the IIP’s bipartisan State Attorneys General Police Oversight and Accountability Network,” said John Jay College President Karol Mason. Over the course of three convenings, the IIP brought together and built a network of attorneys general committed to learning about how they can build trust in policing in their communities. Now, I am thrilled that the IIP has published these four papers to guide attorneys general across the country in the many ways they can play a role in improving community trust in policing and police accountability.”

“The IIP’s release of its first-of-its-kind publication series to guide attorneys general in the work of police accountability is an important moment,” said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. “I have been honored to help lead and support the IIP’s efforts from the very start of this project, including by sharing what my team and I learned while prosecuting Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. I commend the IIP for its leadership in producing these reports and I look forward to seeing the change this network helps to effect. We attorneys general have much to learn and much to teach about how to build safety, accountability, and trust. 

“The IIP’s new paper series provides invaluable guidance to state attorneys general on how to use their considerable power to prevent and respond to police misconduct,” said Jill Habig, Founder and CEO of the Public Rights Project.  “Now, more than ever, we need attorneys general to engage in effective police oversight. The network that the IIP has built, for which I was proud to serve on the advisory board, will be a key component in advancing police accountability work across the country.

“Over the past four years, we have witnessed an unprecedented increase in the role and authority of state attorneys general to conduct oversight and investigations of police officers and departments,” says Marc Krupanski, director of criminal justice policy at Arnold Ventures. “This includes greater authority to conduct pattern and practice investigations, the establishment of specialized units, and/or authority to investigate a wider range of misconduct allegations. However, while state attorneys general are being entrusted with greater authority and responsibility, their capacity to execute this authority effectively appears limited and little understood. This project is a step forward in understanding and addressing these deficits and is a cutting-edge development in the effort to implement fair and accountable policing.”

The IIP brings together prosecutors, experts, and community members to promote effective strategies for building safe communities. The IIP cultivates strong relationships with prosecutors, their staff, and key stakeholders, educates the public about the role of prosecutors and the benefits of prosecutorial reform and produces reliable, evidence-based policy papers to guide prosecutors’ offices nationwide. 

For additional information or press inquiries, visit the IIP website at