Social Justice Education with Law Enforcement: Reflections from the Field

  • Amie Thurber Vanderbilt University


Nation-wide protests over the systemic racism embedded in and embodied by law enforcement has sparked a call to action, a call that has particular resonance and urgency for social justice educators. While the need for transformed education of police officers is critical, educators may ask: What pedagogic tools are most effective in police departments? How can educators respond to officer’s resistance to learning about inequality? And what might educators have to overcome in order to do this work? Drawing from eleven years of experience providing consulting and training to a single city police department, I share key insights designed to further discussion on critical ethical, pedagogical, and practical considerations. Topics include pedagogical design, effective assessment, negotiating resistance, and building relationships. While the needs of each community and police department are highly contextual, this case study is designed to further dialogue among social justice educators regarding our unique role in the struggle to create a justice system worthy of its name.

Author Biography

Amie Thurber, Vanderbilt University

Amie Thurber (M.A.Ed, M.S.W) has fifteen years’ experience in community development practice. Her research interests include social inequality and social justice; intergroup conflict and collaboration; processes of socialization and social identity development; and critical theory and pedagogy. Thurber is a doctoral student in Community Research and Actionat Vanderbilt University.  

How to Cite
Thurber, A. (2015). Social Justice Education with Law Enforcement: Reflections from the Field. Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, 5(2), 42 - 56. Retrieved from