Policing Policy Counsel

  • ACLU
  • New York, NY, USA
  • Feb 14, 2018
Full time Legal

Job Description


Policing Policy Counsel [NPAD-23]

American Civil Liberties Union

National Political Advocacy Department, New York, NY

For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBT community, advancing racial justice, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties and civil rights cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. With more than one million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., for the principle that every individual’s rights must be protected equally under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, national origin, record of arrest or conviction.



The ACLU’s National Political Advocacy Department seeks a full-time Policing Policy Counsel. This position is based in New York City.

Good police practices, thorough training, carefully crafted policies, strong civilian oversight, and appropriate allocation of resources in law enforcement improve public safety and relationships between police officers and citizens.  Unfortunately, data from across the nation and high-profile incidents increasingly raise questions about racial, gender, religious, and other forms of biased-based profiling, selective enforcement, excessive force, and militarization.  In addition to law enforcement being the front line of the failed War on Drugs, the police are increasingly involved in enforcing terrorism and immigration laws, controlling and quelling political protests, handling school safety and discipline, providing local governments’ responses to homelessness and mental illness, and using surveillance and police powers to gather an array of personal data, as well as becoming equipped with a wide range of technologically advanced, and in some cases military grade, weapons, and surveillance equipment.  Trump’s promise for crime control in communities of color includes more stop and frisk, elimination of consent decrees with police departments across the country, and relaxing of restrictions on the use of militarized weapons and equipment. 

The ACLU is the nation’s leading watchdog against police abuse and corruption, and an outspoken advocate for police reform.  To build trust, we need a democratic system of policing where our communities have a much larger say in the way their neighborhoods are policed.  Collaboration, transparency, and communication between police and communities around the shared goals of equality, fairness, accountability, and public safety are the path forward.

Nationwide system reform is necessary. The Policing Policy Counsel will provide leadership for the ACLU’s nationwide advocacy to ensure effective, democratic, constitutional, and community-based policing.  The ACLU approaches its policing work through integrated strategies including policy development; public education; strategic communications; local, state, and federal advocacy; and litigation.  This work raises many interrelated areas of concern for the ACLU, including racial justice, criminal law reform, ending mass incarceration, immigrants’ rights, free speech, privacy and technology, national security, human rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, juvenile justice, and the school-to-prison pipeline.  The Policing Policy Counsel will work closely with ACLU affiliates and national colleagues to advance the ACLU’s nationwide agenda to hold police accountable and improve police practices and institutions.



  • Identify opportunities for, develop, and lead nationwide advocacy around police practices in close coordination with colleagues in ACLU affiliate and national offices.
  • Provide support and advice to ACLU affiliates on policing issues in their jurisdictions.
  • Pilot models in targeted states and municipalities that represent best practices in policing.
  • Together with others in the ACLU national office, develop and implement a comprehensive strategy that achieves a clear vision of effective, democratic, and constitutional policing that establishes and reinforces community trust in its peacekeepers.
  • Represent the ACLU in national coalitions and develop relationships with allies and other organizations to further our advocacy goals.
  • Establish and implement a model for ACLU and its state affiliates to work with diverse policing stakeholders, including communities of color, residents of and small business owners in heavily policed neighborhoods, currently and formerly incarcerated people, people with criminal convictions, youth, victims of crime, health care workers and advocates, police officers, members of police oversight commissions, elected officials, school officials, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges.
  • Consult with ACLU attorneys litigating policing issues and ACLU federal lobbyists negotiating related legislation and policy guidance.
  • Speak publicly at national, state, and local forums, conferences, and meetings.
  • Willingness to travel when necessary.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to diversity within the office using a personal approach that values all individuals and respects differences in regards to race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance, record of arrest or conviction.
  • Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts.



  • Bachelor’s degree and six (6) or more years of experience in policy work, at least four (4) of which must be on criminal justice issues. J.D. is a positive factor, but not required.
  • Significant experience working on policies addressing police practices required.
  • Deep relationships in affected communities and proven track record of working in partnership and establishing trust with affected communities.
  • Demonstrated success in working with law enforcement preferred.
  • Experience identifying policies and practices that undermine community and police relations.
  • Experience with systemic police reform processes, especially court-enforceable agreements between the Department of Justice and police entities.
  • Familiarity with various policing philosophies, as well as research and literature on police practices, crime reduction, and implicit bias.
  • Experience developing campaign goals and identifying strategies to achieve those goals preferred.
  • Excellent research, writing, analytic, and communication skills.
  • Personal experience with the criminal justice system (i.e., as a formerly incarcerated person, police officer, criminal defense lawyer, or prosecutor) is desirable. 
  • Track record of working collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts.
  • Experience with working in a fast-paced environment and rapidly responding to developments; ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, work efficiently and quickly, and meet deadlines under pressure.
  • Commitment to civil liberties required.



The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within parameters of the ACLU compensation scale.



Please send a cover letter and resume to hrjobsnpad@aclu.org.  Reference [NPAD-23] in the subject line.

Please indicate in your cover letter where you learned of this career opportunity.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

This job description provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU reserves the right to change the job description and/or posting at any time without advance notice.

The Department of Education has determined that employment in this position at the ACLU does not qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction.

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We encourage applicants with disabilities who may need accommodations in the application process to contact:hrjobsincl@aclu.org. Correspondence sent to this email address that is not related to requests for accommodations will not be reviewed. Applicants should follow the instructions above regarding how to apply.

The ACLU comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation are national organizations with the same overall mission, and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “ACLU.”