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Docs and Cops: Origins and Ongoing Challenges of Evidence-Based Policing



What lessons can evidence-based policing draw from the three-decade history of evidence-based medicine?


Ongoing research and practice in evidence-based medicine 1992–2021.


Evidence-based medicine has not met its goals due to the difficulty of behavior change, but changing financial incentives and information technology advances are beginning to have a significant impact.


Evidence-based policing may benefit from evidence-based medicine’s experiences with diffusion of innovation and changing inbred cultural practices.

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The author wishes to thank the American Society for Evidence-Based Policing for organizing a panel on this topic at its 2021 annual meeting, which featured a discussion with Lawrence Sherman and Renee Mitchell. This paper is a revised version of the talk delivered at that session by the author.

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Correspondence to Michael L. Millenson.

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Millenson, M.L. Docs and Cops: Origins and Ongoing Challenges of Evidence-Based Policing. Camb J Evid Based Polic (2021).

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  • Autonomy
  • Accountability
  • Evidence-based medicine
  • Evidence-based policing
  • Behavior change