Beyond Reform: Better Policing Through Systems Thinking

Police reform is a long-standing objective in America. In one form or another, the same fundamental problem persists: police have never consistently navigated the tension between effectively policing society and being a part of it. In part, systems theory helps explain why traditional best-practice reforms have not been consistently effective. The solution to these problems may lie not in reform but in reframing the approach to police organizations through systems thinking. Christopher Bagby’s CHDS Master’s thesis, “Beyond Reform: Better Policing Through Systems Thinking,” seeks to answer a key question predicated on the assumption that reform is not enough: How can systems thinking improve policing?

About the Presenter

Christopher Bagby is a Sergeant for the Bakersfield Police Department (BPD) in Bakersfield, California. Assigned as a supervisor in the BPD’s Quality Assurance Unit, he manages the organization’s accountability and oversight programs, policy review, and organizational improvement projects. He holds collateral duties as the Covid-19 Resource Team Leader/Infection Control Officer, Terrorism Liaison Team Leader, department instructor, a member of the Department’s Use of Force Committee and its Civil Litigation Team. He has been with the BPD since June of 2002.

Bagby joined the U.S. Army out of high school in 1997 and qualified as an armor crewman. He was stationed in Europe and deployed to multiple Balkan theatres of operations before honorably discharging in 2001. Upon leaving the service, he joined the BPD and served in a variety of assignments including Patrol, Motors, Accident Reconstruction, Property Crimes Detectives, Robbery/Homicide Detectives, Headquarters, Investigations, and Patrol Sergeant. He is a graduate of National University with a B.S. in Public Administration and an M.A. in Security Studies from CHDS as a member of cohort 1905/1906.

Browse more Viewpoints →

Scroll to Top