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Policing Program Director - NYC

Who we are

At the Vera Institute of Justice, we envision a society that respects the dignity of every person and safeguards justice for all. At this critical moment for justice reform, we are working on a number of issues that are essential for the safety and wellbeing of communities across the U.S. These include shrinking the footprint of policing, ending mass incarceration, ensuring that people who are incarcerated are treated with dignity, securing due process for immigrants, and centering all of our work on principles of racial equity. The role of policing in the U.S. is an essential and growing component of Vera’s work.

Our work to ensure justice for all occurs in the context of a dynamic, rapidly changing, and increasingly high-profile organization and field. Vera has more than 250 staff members who work across four offices—in Brooklyn, New Orleans, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles—as well as remotely. Each year, we are launching new initiatives, identifying partners, and deploying new tools and tactics to create a justice system that lives up to its name.

We drive change by:

  • Studying problems that impede human dignity and justice.
  • Piloting solutions that are at once transformative and achievable.
  • Engaging diverse communities in informed debate.
  • Harnessing the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice.


Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace. We expect our staff to embody respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, anti-racism, and equity—both in our outward-facing work and the internal culture of our workplace. We value a range of experiences in people’s educational backgrounds and encourage people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to apply.


Our goal

The goal of the Policing Program is to shrink the footprint of American policing and further racial equity. This work builds upon Vera’s position as a national justice reform organization and our capacity to marshal and analyze data, communicate with diverse audiences, and engage both government stakeholders and grassroots organizations.  The Policing Program’s current portfolio is organized around two key objectives:

  1. Leveraging data to build community power and drive reform; and
  2. Blueprinting and piloting alternatives to enforcement that prioritize the needs of under-served communities of color.

Within these objectives, current and recent projects include: Arrest Trends, research on 911 calls and police responses, a study of misdemeanor arrests among people with serious mental illness and Serving Safely. 


Where you come in

You are someone with a high level of self-awareness, a track record of building relationships with community partners, advocacy groups and other stakeholders, and extensive experience working on policing related initiatives, with a focus on the policing reform and/or oversight space.While most issues concerning community-wellbeing don’t require a law enforcement response, police officers have become de facto first responders for a myriad of social problems. Recent events, the latest in a long history of police violence and abuse, have underlined the urgent need for systemic reform. This is an opportunity to join a team at Vera that is committed to addressing the racial inequities that erode police legitimacy and undercut justice for many Americans, while shaping the future direction and growth of this important portfolio of work. The Policing Program is well-positioned to leverage its current work to center and empower community voices, advance racial justice, and to develop critical alternatives to enforcement. We are looking for a senior leader to serve as Vera’s primary expert on policing, direct the Program, and lead the team to bring our work to scale.

The Policing Program Director will be responsible for the overall direction and management of policing work at Vera and work directly with Program staff on all projects. As a senior leader within the organization, you will have significant responsibility and latitude for shaping the vision of policing-related work and collaborating with staff and other senior leaders in the organization to drive change at scale. Your professional training may be in evidence-based policy making, applied research, public advocacy, litigation, organizing, or police oversight and accountability. You have a solid understanding of race equity and inclusion, as well as the impact of structural racism, and are committed to centering this in the vision and projects the Program undertakes. You also have a passion for the implementation of social justice, and/or professional or lived-experience in the criminal justice field.  


Qualifications and experience

  • At least 10 years of demonstrated leadership and professional work experience on police reform issues
  • Experience in policing and/or transformation of policing practices
  • Practical experience working and building coalitions with community-based and advocacy organizations
  • A demonstrated commitment to advancing a just, fair and equitable society, with a specific focus on racial justice
  • Experience and competency leading strategic planning, developing program design and bringing programs to scale
  • Experience developing and managing a portfolio of work with multiple initiatives and funding streams
  • Strong fundraising skills as demonstrated through relationships with a variety of funders, and experience developing proposals
  • A track record communicating and translating quantitative and qualitative data and research findings to drive policy and practice change; research training and experience is a plus
  • Strong collaboration and management skills, with experience guiding and empowering a team with varying levels of experience
  • Ability to work effectively with a diverse array of internal and external partners and stakeholder, including advocates, government officials, practitioners, and people who are directly impacted by the criminal system
  • Experience working to develop or implement alternatives to enforcement and applying appropriate responses to community health and social needs, including mental health and substance use issues is a plus
  • Strong Project Management, problem solving and task delegation skills
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and experience developing communications for a variety of settings and among diverse audiences
  • A bachelor’s degree is required and an advanced degree in a relevant field is preferred


To apply

Please submit a cover letter, writing sample, and resume. The cover letter must outline your minimum and additional qualifications and address how you will use those qualifications to excel in the policing program director role. The writing sample must be single-spaced and pertain to some aspect of policing and criminal justice. Your submission package must also include details of your experience with advocacy and community-based work that aligns with public safety, particularly in underserved communities and communities of color.


Submission online through Vera’s website is preferred. However, if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to:

ATTN: Human Resources / Program Director, Policing Program

34 35th St, Suite 4-2A, Brooklyn, NY 11232 

Fax: (212) 941-9407


Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.


No phone calls or emails, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.


Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status, or caregiver status.


Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.


For more information about Vera, please visit

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