UChicago campus

The University of Chicago campus

The University of Chicago will host a public and virtual conference this week on “re-imagining policing,” featuring academics, activists, and politicians from Chicago and elsewhere. 

Speakers will discuss the promises and pitfalls of existing reforms and the potential for radically new alternatives,” a description of the conference reads. “They will also offer critical analyses of current police practices, historical perspectives on policing, and international comparisons that can help illuminate the most promising paths ahead and the more perilous paths to avoid.” 

Participants include Simon Balto, a professor at the University of Iowa who wrote a 2019 book about policing in Chicago during the 20th Century; Ald. Rossana Rodríguez Sanchez (33rd), and activists including Damon Williams from the #LetUsBreathe Collective. 

One panel features Jens Ludwig, a professor at the U. of C. and the director of the school’s Crime Lab, which studies violence reduction. The Crime Lab was recently criticized in an op-ed in the Chicago Maroon — the op-ed’s author, sociology professor Robert Vargas, will sit on the same panel as Ludwig. 

The conference will take place Thursday and Friday over Zoom — registration is free and open to the public. More information, including a schedule, is available at reinventingpoliceconference.uchicago.edu.

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