History

The Police Assessment Resource Center (PARC) was founded to provide independent, evidence-based counsel and research on effective, respectful, and publicly accountable policing to law enforcement agencies, government entities, and community groups. It was founded in 2001 by the Vera Institute of Justice with the generous support of the Ford Foundation.

Work

Work with Law Enforcement & Local Organizations

[PARC Executive Director Merrick] Bobb and his team have made it their business to monitor law enforcement agencies around the country. Over the years, Bobb has earned the respect of every law enforcement agency he’s ever investigated, primarily because he doesn’t pull punches . . . Bobb is thorough, fair and methodical, with a reputation that has put his work above reproach.
— "From Good to Great," Pasadena Weekly (2013)

Since day one, PARC has helped law enforcement agencies incorporate best practices, address problems, manage risks, and provide services with greater efficiency and accountability.

PARC has consulted at various points for the cities of Detroit; Los Angeles, Burbank, Pasadena, Oakland, and San Francisco; Wallkill, New York; Albuquerque and Farmington, New Mexico; Mesa, Arizona; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Portland and Eugene, Oregon; Denver, Colorado; New Orleans; and several others.  That scope of PARC's work is increasingly national, with PARC providing services to the Greek Police, the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro, and to national leaders in Brazil.

PARC has been hired to assist in policy revisions; to conduct a systemic assessment of critical incidents—like officer-involved shootings, use of force, SWAT incidents, and the like; to review the quality and integrity of internal affairs investigations and make recommendations for improving their quality; to assist in the implementation of community policing or community partnership initiatives; and even to do wholesale assessments of departments and provide assessments of what its most urgent or pressing needs are.

Monitoring

In addition to providing services and counsel directly to police agencies and local governments, we are often called to perform more formal monitoring work.

Along those lines, PARC worked as Special Counsel to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for the purpose of monitoring the LA County Sheriff’s Department—which is at this point the fourth-largest law enforcement agency in the US. 

[PARC’s] work provided the very first long-term civilian oversight of law enforcement in the nation’s history.
— Witness L.A. (Aug. 8, 2014)

Likewise, in late 2012, the Executive Director of PARC was appointed to serve as Independent Monitor for the purposes of effectuating a Consent Decree between the Department of Justice and City of Seattle.  That Consent Decree addresses what the DOJ found was a pattern and practice of unconstitutionally excessive force and deep concerns with respect to issues relating to discriminatory policing in the Seattle Police Department.  In Seattle, we severe as the federal judge’s agent to oversee the implementation of the reforms set forth in the Consent Decree that attempt to address those issues.

Private Businesses & Organizations

PARC has provided expert advice and services to law firms and businesses on security policies or practices.  PARC has helped businesses identify problematic policies or practices, especially in relation to allegations of racial profiling and false arrest. 

Reports stemming from these consultation projects have typically been private and shared only with the law firm or company that retained PARC. Nonetheless, PARC has helped the management of several businesses and private organization to take steps to avoid possible liability in relation to the businesses’ security policies and practices. PARC assisted with the crafting of better approaches to avoid the reality or perception of racial profiling of customers.