CASE STUDY: Lucien Partners assisted law enforcement clients navigate unparalleled political crises.

The law enforcement profession has received an unparalleled level of international scrutiny over the past three years. This scrutiny reached a feverish pitch in 2020 in response to an unjustified murder in Minneapolis. This event provoked international protests for more than 75 days, placing policymakers and law enforcement organizations on a collision course over the future of the profession in state capitals across the country.

Lawmakers were eager to act, and unfortunately introduced an unprecedented wave of draconian measures designed to punish the profession instead of focusing on meaningful reforms that would catalyze culture change, behavioral practices, and recruitment practices.

Lucien Partners positioned its clients to have meaningful and honest discussions about reforming the profession, in stark contrast to many law enforcement unions. Initially, the tensions were too high for collaborative discussions. Consequentially, Lucien Partners was asked to embark on a major educational campaign to mitigate and defeat adverse policy proposals.

Lucien Partners made these early findings:

  • The Legislature, even those lawmakers with substantial local government experience, did not understand the profession of policing. There existed a substantial body of literature on “force science,” a meld of psychology, physiology, and endocrinology, that the Legislature had not factored into its policy deliberations.

  • Law enforcement unions did not have a history of seeking to use the legislative process to advocate for the further professionalization of the profession.

  • The messaging from law enforcement unions was often unpersuasive and lacked policy merit. The worst groups ignored public opinion while the best groups were unaware of the opinions of the Legislature concerning the profession.

  • Police organizations did not effectively fight misinformation.

  • Legislators’ expectations of law enforcement did not match the administration of justice in California through policy, procedure, officer training, and the realities of the profession.

  • Each law enforcement agency is governed by different rules, resulting in disparate outcomes.

  • Recent public events, unrelated to policing in California, created an unavoidable political mandate to pass sweeping legislation injurious to the profession.

These findings resulted in Lucien Partners working collaboratively with multiple unions and consultants to develop a comprehensive public affairs campaign.

Our team performed extensive research into policies, academic research findings, and notable publications on policing. We managed public opinion research, both focus groups and polling, and merged policy research with public opinion research to develop cogent policy platforms. We developed meaningful, broadly supported police reforms for which to advocate, and public policy arguments in opposition to injurious legislative proposals. This information was distributed to lobbying teams and utilized to develop collateral educational materials, produce video content to support legislative findings, amplified on the campaign’s digital media platforms, and equipped lawmakers with politically palatable, coherent, and justifiable reasons for not supporting ill-advised “reforms.”

The culmination of this effort resulted in the passage of landmark legislation to require law enforcement agencies to improve accountability of police. Passage of this legislation, the intensity of our lobbying effort, and the goodwill that was developed as a good-faith negotiator assisted our coalition defeated nearly a dozen bills against the backdrop of the most difficult period in the history of the profession and negotiated reasonable amendments to the remaining measures.

Lucien Partners carefully mitigated any public outcry from the defeat of the most intense reforms. We provided our legislative allies with sufficient public affairs and strategic cover to blunt blowback with their own constituencies.

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