Herman Goldstein

Professor Emeritus
University of Wisconsin Law School

Herman GoldsteinHerman Goldstein is the winner of the 2018 Stockholm Prize in Criminology. Goldstein's work has focused primarily on the challenge of trying to develop a form of policing that is effective but also committed to maintaining and extending democratic values. He was introduced to the study of policing through a mix of coincidence and opportunity. While preparing for his chosen career of city management at the University of Pennsylvania in 1954, he was given the task of assessing the training needs of police sergeants in Philadelphia. He then served as assistant to the city manager of Portland, Maine. In this position, he was assigned to work with O.W. Wilson, then considered the nation's leading expert on policing, in a review of the city's police department. Wilson was then serving as a consultant to the newly launched American Bar Foundation ethnographic study of criminal justice. He invited Goldstein to participate in the study as a field researcher. Goldstein was given unique, unlimited access to observe on-the-street police operations in Wisconsin and Michigan for two years. He subsequently authored those portions of the ABF report relating to the police. From 1960-1964, Goldstein served as executive assistant to Wilson when the latter, as the architect of the professional model of policing, was engaged by the City of Chicago to be its superintendent of police in the reform of that department.

In response to the nationwide concern about crime in the early 1960s, and with a grant from the Ford Foundation, Goldstein was invited in 1964 to join the faculty at the University of Wisconsin Law School. The School had a strong commitment to studies of the law in action. Goldstein was charged with integrating a novel program of teaching and research relating to the police. His earliest writings, which drew on the ABF study findings, focused on the discretion exercised by rank-and-file police officers, the policy-making role of police administrators, and the political accountability of police. Together with his colleague, Frank J. Remington, he contributed work on policy-making and control of police conduct to several commissions, including the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice in 1967 and the Kerner Commission on Civil Disorders in 1968. He was a consultant on police corruption to New York's Knapp Commission in 1972. With Sheldon Krantz as co-reporter, he authored the American Bar Association's Standards Relating to the Police Function which was approved by the International Association of Chiefs of Police in 1973. His most ambitious work from this period was Policing a Free Society, published in 1977.

In 1979, Goldstein developed an approach to improving police practices that was based on his prior work and reflections on the limitations of traditional reform efforts in policing. He titled this new concept "problem-oriented policing." It called for encouraging the police to go beyond an organizational focus to an end-product focus – that is, on how best to respond to the incredibly wide range of problems that the public expected them to handle in their communities. This required a greater investment by the police and especially rank-and-file police officers. It called for them to study the micro-problems that together constitute police business and then explore a greater range of alternatives to deal with them. The goals were to achieve outcomes that were more effective and fair. After experimenting with new responses, police were urged to rigorously evaluate the results of their efforts. Goldstein more fully developed the concept in his 1990 book, Problem-Oriented Policing. Efforts to implement the concept have been widespread with positive direct results and numerous permutations of the concept. As anticipated, given the diverse state of police agencies, many such efforts are under-developed, lacking essential components of the concept. Goldstein's most recent publications [See, e.g., On Further Developing Problem-Oriented Policing: The Most Critical Need, The Major Impediments, and a Proposal, Crime Prevention Studies, vol. 15 (2003), pp. 13-47)] have reported on and critiqued implementation efforts and set forth proposals for strengthening them.

In addition to those mentioned above, Goldstein has been a consultant to numerous national and local studies and professional associations in the US. He has also consulted with the police in Canada, the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Spain, Israel, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. He contributed to the creation of the Police Foundation, the Police Executive Research Forum, and, most recently, the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, which promotes, archives and disseminates work related to that concept.

Among his honors, Goldstein was appointed Evjue-Bascom Professor in Law by the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents in 1982. He received the Leadership Award from the Police Executive Research Forum in 1989. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the City University of New York, John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 1990. He was awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship in 1997. And he was given a Distinguished Achievement Award by the Center for Evidence Based Crime Policy in 2015.