In this volume, a group of leading scholars presented contrasting perspectives on eight major innovations in American policing developed over the course of the 1980s and 1990s. Police departments needed to improve their performance and innovation provided the opportunity to make these improvements. These innovations represent fundamental changes to the business of policing. However, as many of our authors point out, improving police performance through innovation is often not straightforward. Police departments are highly resistant to change and police officers often experience difficulty in implementing new programs (Sparrow, Moore, and Kennedy 1990; Capowich and Roehl 1994; Sadd and Grinc 1994). The available evidence on key dimensions of police performance associated with these eight innovations, such as crime control effectiveness and community satisfaction with services provided, is also surprisingly limited. These observations are not unique to the policing field. For example, as Elmore (1997) suggests, the field of education was awash in innovation during the 1990s, but there is little evidence examining whether those innovations advanced the performance of schools, students, or graduates.
While our knowledge about the effects of these innovations on police performance is still developing, we think there is much reason for optimism about the future of policing. This period of innovation has demonstrated that police can prevent crime and can improve their relationships with the communities they serve. In the near future, we don't anticipate the dramatic strategic innovations that characterized the last two decades.
Weisburd, David, and Anthony Braga. 2006. "Conclusion: Police Innovation and the Future of Policing." In Police Innovation: Contrasting Perspectives, eds. David Weisburd and Anthony A. Braga. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 339-352.