Training & Education

To further its mission, NACOLE works to bring together the growing community of civilian oversight practitioners, law enforcement officials, journalists, elected officials, students, community members, and others to meet and exchange information and ideas about issues facing civilian oversight and law enforcement.  In addition to it's annual conference, NACOLE conducts regional training and networking events, and gathers academics and scholars from different fields to discuss and encourage multi-disciplinary work on police oversight, and encourage relationships between civilian oversight practitioners, police professionals, and scholars.

  • Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 08:00 AM through February 28, 2021

    2020 Annual NACOLE Conference

    **Although the live sessions of the conference are over you can still purchase access to the recordings through February 28, 2021.  Please note that the recording will only be available for view until this same date.**

    NACOLE believes that policing should be fair and consistent and that independent civilian oversight leads to more effective policing and safer communities. Despite the progress law enforcement oversight agencies across the country have made, much work remains if we hope to achieve lasting and meaningful law enforcement and criminal justice reform. One way in which we can be prepared for the path ahead is to engage in training, learn effective practices, and become aquainted with the innovative work that is happening around the country and the world.

    NACOLE is committed to providing you the content and resources it has delivered for over 25 years. However, the health and well-being of our members, supporters, and communities is of utmost importance to us. Therefore, due to the lingering issues associated with the COVID-19 crisis, we held our 2020 Annual NACOLE Conference virtually. This year's conference was presented in the form of 32 webinars between July 20 - September 22, 2020.  Up to four webinars were presented each week and fell under one of the four tracks presented this year:

    Dot_Green.pngInnovations and Work Impacting Civilian Oversight - Civilian oversight of law enforcement constantly seeks to improve its methods and to seek out techniques used elsewhere. The Innovations and Work Impacting Civilian Oversight Track will provide information to attendees and the expanding base of effective practices and new techniques to take back to their agencies.


    Dot_Orange.pngJail and Prison Oversight - The Jail and Prison Oversight Track will present attendees with a range of topics specific to both the culture of correctional institutions and the oversight of jails, prisons, and lock-ups. Current oversight practitioners and those who are working to create correctional oversight will gain insight into best practices and emerging trends in this expanding field.


    Dot_Yellow.pngOversight and the Broader Community  - At the heart of professional civilian oversight is the premise that community trust in law enforcement is essential to public safety in our communities. This track will explore how oversight professionals can understand and engage the community in order to help law enforcement departments establish trust within the communities they serve. 


    Dot_Blue.pngTraining - The Training Track provides attendees opportunities to understand the various principles and components of civilian oversight and to hone the technical skills used every day by those in oversight. Each session will present information that will be useful to those new to oversight and more experienced practitioners.


    Those interested now have the opportunity to register for all 32 session recordings as a package or to register for session recordings individually. Please note that each viewer must register separately. Those who register for the full package will have access to all 32 recordings and our special session with civil rights icon Dolores Huerta.  Those who register for individual sessions will have access to those specific sessions. Registration information and a full conference schedule can be found through the links below.

    2020 Annual Conference Registration2020 Annual Conference Schedule

    Please note that each viewer MUST register separately. All registrants will recieve a link directly for the session recordings. If you are a participant in our Certified Practitioner of Oversight program, please note that all webinars will be worth 1.5 credit hours.  In order for this year's virtual conference to count towards the conference attendance requirement, particpants will have to attend a minimum of 18 sessions.  Attendance will be be verified through webinar backend reports.  Particpants who are not on our registration list and on the backend webinar attendance reports will not receive CPO credit. Participants must still appear on our registration list and will be asked to certify that they have watched the video in its entirety before receiving CPO credit for the session.

    Because recordings of the session will be available to registrants, no refund  requests will be honored for this event.

  • Wednesday, March 03, 2021 at 01:00 PM

    Death Anxiety and Police Culture

    Death Anxiety and Police Culture

    Join us March 3, 2021 at 1:00p.m. EST as NACOLE welcomes experts who will explain the role of death in our lives and discuss research and theory that relates to policing and police culture. They will discuss the crucial relationship between our mortality and our behaviors and how understanding it can help us improve our communications and promote change. Mortality concerns are an essential element of our psyche that can have serious consequences and as a result, warrant serious consideration by those trying to address police behaviors and culture.

    Cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker won the Pulitzer Prize in 1974 for The Denial of Death, in which he argues that the uniquely human awareness of our inevitable death gives rise to potentially debilitating existential terror. We manage this terror by embracing cultural worldviews: a set of shared beliefs about reality that reduce death anxiety by giving us a sense that we are persons of value in a world of meaning. Becker’s writings sparked a field of research called Terror Management Theory (TMT). TMT was developed in 1986 to test Becker’s thesis that we use culture as an existential anxiety buffer. Since then, there have been over 1000 studies in over 25 countries exploring how people respond to reminders of their own mortality.

    So what does this have to do with policing?

    Hundreds of studies conducted worldwide have shown that when reminded of our mortality – consciously or subconsciously – people seek out self-esteem, become increasingly committed to their cultures/in-groups, and increasingly antagonistic towards perceived outgroups. In other words, people are often more prejudiced when reminded of their mortality. These findings can help to explain violence in general, but also the disproportionate use of force on people of color, and on African Americans in particular, in situations where death is salient. A few examples: A 2012 study found that white Americans were more likely to label an ambiguous object as a gun rather than a tool after being reminded of death, especially if they were also subliminally exposed to Black faces. A 2018 Seattle University study used Becker’s ideas to discuss how social media can lead to increased police violence against minorities. A 2015 investigation in the American Journal of Criminal Justice argued that police culture may exacerbate shootings of unarmed suspects when mortality is salient.



    D.Jacobs_-_headshot_(72_dpi).JPGDeborah Jacobs, Executive Director, Ernest Becker Foundation, Seattle, WA

    Deborah Jacobs had her life-altering first exposure to Becker as a student of Sheldon Solomon at Skidmore College. Becker’s synthesis on human behavior resonated with Deborah in a profound way and has informed her observations and understanding of human behavior ever since. Deborah joined the Ernest Becker Foundation board in 2006 and assumed leadership of the organization in 2015. She serves the EBF as a volunteer.

    Deborah’s career as a leader and advocate includes having served as Executive Director of the ACLU of Missouri and ACLU of New Jersey, as Vice President for the Ms. Foundation for Women, and as Director of the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight in King County, WA.

    Deborah has expertise in issues such as police practices, criminal justice, open government, voting rights, free speech, privacy, immigrant rights, women’s equality, and reproductive rights. An understanding of Becker and Terror Management Theory has helped guide Deborah’s approach to advocacy work throughout her career.
    Deborah’s work has been recognized by organizations such as the New Jersey NAACP, the National Organization for Women – New Jersey, and the Black Law Enforcement Officers of Washington.

    Deborah holds a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in Liberal Studies from Skidmore College. In 1990, she served as a Fulbright Scholar in Helsinki, Finland conducting a project related to Finnish- Jewish identity.

    J_Maskaly.jpgJon Maskály, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota

    Jon Maskály, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of North Dakota. Jon received his Ph.D. in criminology from the University of South Florida in 2014 under the mentorship of Dr. Lyndsay Boggess and Dr. Lorie Fridell. His research interests broadly rest in police-community relations. His recent work has revolved around police-misconduct (and police integrity), the effects of police body-worn cameras, measuring police-community interactions, and police officer decision-making. Jon’s research tends to be quantitative and theoretically informed. His recent work has appeared in The American Journal of Criminal Justice, The Journal of Criminal Justice, Policing & Society, and Policing: An International Journal. Jon serves on the Editorial Board for Law & Human Behavior and is active in the Southwestern Association of Criminal Justice, the American Society of Criminology, and the European Society of Criminology—among others. Beyond his scholarly work, Jon has worked as a senior research scientist for consent decree monitoring teams (East Haven, CT) and for multiple cities under the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Collaborative Reform and Technical Assistance Initiative (CRI-TA). On these projects, Jon has been responsible for helping agency extract, clean, and report on data involving various events of interest to their community (e.g., racial disparity in traffic stops, racial disparity in use of force, etc.). He is deeply committed to helping agencies improve their operations to meet the needs and expectations of their communities.
    sheldon.JPGSheldon Solomon, Ph.D., Professor, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
    Sheldon Solomon is Professor of Psychology at Skidmore College. His studies of the effects of the uniquely human awareness of death on behavior with Jeff Greenberg (at the University of Arizona) and Tom Pyszczynski (at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs) have been supported by the National Science Foundation and Ernest Becker Foundation, and were featured in the award winning documentary film Flight from Death: The Quest for Immortality. He is co-author of In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror and The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life. Sheldon is an American Psychological Society Fellow, and a recipient of an American Psychological Association Presidential Citation (2007), a Lifetime Career Award by the International Society for Self and Identity (2009), the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs Annual Faculty Award (2011), and a Career Contribution Award by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (2021).
  • Monday, August 16, 2021 at 02:00 PM

    2021 Annual NACOLE Conference


    2021_Conference_Slider_1000X342.jpgThe 27th Annual NACOLE Conference will include two separate components: one virtual and one in-person.  The virtual component will include 25+ individual webinars that will be presented live with recordings available for viewing to registrants. This component of the conference will take place August – October with no more than one session taking place on any given day.  The in-person component will include four days of more in-depth training for those interested in or doing the work of civilian oversight of law enforcement, jails, or prisons.  The in-person component will be held December 12-16, 2021 in Tucson, Arizona. Individuals will be able to register for either the virtual component, the in-person component, or both.If 

    Check the NACOLE website this spring for more details regarding the conference, registration, and in-person and virtual conference schedules.