No one disputes the idea that police misconduct is wrong, but reasonable people do disagree about the scope of the problem and how it ought to be addressed. The purpose of this project is to gather reports of credible allegations of police misconduct so policymakers (and others) can make informed assessments of the nature and circumstances of police misconduct, and consider proposals that can minimize wrongdoing. Individuals who are victimized by police misconduct should expect a review process that will seriously investigate complaints. Police officers accused of wrongdoing should expect to be treated fairly and with due process. Our objective is to identify policies that consistently uphold high standards of ethics, honesty, and professionalism from police officers and critique the policies that do not.  We believe good policy analysis can improve governmental decisionmaking.

The National Police Misconduct Reporting Project (NPMRP) was first established in 2009 by David Packman, a private researcher. In April 2012, Mr. Packman announced that he could no longer devote the necessary time to maintain his project and asked for a person or organization to assume responsibility for the reporting project. The Cato Institute expressed an interest, and Mr. Packman subsequently agreed to transfer his ownership interest to Cato with no qualifications whatsoever.

In May 2012, Cato relaunched the reporting project at www.policemisconduct.net.

Our reporting analyzes media reports each day to locate news stories of police misconduct, records those reports in a database, and then transmits details about each report in a publicly available social media news feed on Twitter.