The 2016 Public Safety Summit

Growing Capacity and Legitimacy


When & Where

April 29 - May 1, 2016
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA

Today’s public safety leaders often feel squeezed in a vise. On one side pressure is ramping up to respond to evermore-complex crime and public safety threats such as natural disasters, violent extremism, and cybercrime. On the other side are pressing demands for citizen engagement, stakeholder collaboration, and community outreach. Policing leaders can feel torn: Should they focus on fighting crime efficiently? Or should they focus on growing public trust?

Forward-thinking public safety leaders realize that to build legitimacy the answer is “yes” – to improving both crime prevention and public trust. Yet to accomplish both objectives, public safety leaders will need to pursue innovations that increase organizational capacity. In a world of limited resources, finding the right mix of innovations will require grappling with tough questions, such as:

  • What innovative strategies and operating models can reduce operational costs and complexity, but also increase agility in policing structures, systems, and people?
  • How can digital tools such as social media, data, and analytics improve crime response, as well as engage the community in co-creation of public safety solutions?
  • What new recruitment and training methods will improve current capabilities and develop a pipeline for the leadership and skills needed in the future?
  • What type of leadership is needed to simultaneously build near-term operational capacity, facilitate change, and adapt organizational culture for the long-term?

To help public safety leaders work through and answer these challenging questions, Leadership for a Networked World and the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard, in collaboration with Accenture, are convening The 2016 Public Safety Summit: Building Capacity and Legitimacy, to be held April 29 – May 1 at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

This 2nd annual Summit will bring together senior-most policing and public safety leaders to learn and share ideas on how police chiefs, sheriffs, commissioners and others, can not only respond to broadening responsibilities more efficiently and effectively, but also transform their organizations, operating models and cultures to deliver improved policing outcomes and legitimacy.

About the Public Safety Summit

The Public Safety Summit is the foremost academic research program and event for senior-most leaders to invent and realize the future of public safety and policing. To accomplish this goal, the Summit combines case studies from current public safety officials, insights from academic research, and expertise from industry experts. The Summit builds on and extends a decade of research by Harvard Kennedy School’s program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management and features fresh case studies, peer-based problem-solving sessions, and topical workshops designed to create transformational solutions in public safety.

2016 Agenda

Download the 2016 Public Safety Summit Agenda

2016 Brochure

Download the 2016 Public Safety Summit Brochure

The 2016 Executive Leadership Group

Art Acevedo
Chief of Police
Austin Police Department
James Craig
Chief of Police
Detroit Police Department
Janee Harteau
Chief of Police
Minneapolis Police Department
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe
Metropolitan Police Service (London)
Cathy Lanier
Chief of Police
Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia
Jim McDonnell
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
Noirin O'Sullivan
An Garda Síochána
Kathleen O'Toole
Chief of Police
Seattle Police Department
Antonio Oftelie
Executive Director
Leadership for a Networked World
Scott Thomson
Chief of Police
Camden County Police Department
Eric Ward
Chief of Police
Tampa Police Department
Chuck Wexler
Executive Director
Police Executive Research Forum

The 2015 Public Safety Report

Explore insights and learnings from the final report on the 2015 Public Safety Summit.

Public safety leaders share perspectives on the 2015 Summit

View Video clips from 2015 Public Safety Summit sessions

Chief O'Toole, Chief of Police in Seattle, talks about her department's changing relationship with the Department of Justice.

Chris Sims, the Chief Constable of the West Midlands, discusses the challenges he's up against in this new, technologically progressed environment.

Who Should Attend?

Summit participants are senior-level public safety executives (Chief, Commissioner, Superintendent, Sheriff, etc.) in function, as well as “Chief Transformation Officers” in practice, who seek to improve organizational performance in the near term and redesign public safety for the long term.

Admission & Participation

The Summit is an invitation-only program for senior-most officials in public safety. Other applicants will be reviewed and accepted on a case-by-case basis, and according in part, to space availability. This event is supported by the hosting and collaborating organizations, so there is no tuition or fee to attend*. Travel and hotel arrangements, and related expenses, are the responsibility of individual participants.

*There is no tuition charge or fee to attend this Summit. However, attendees will be responsible for their own transportation, lodging and other related personal expenses. The sponsors of this event (including the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard, Leadership for a Networked World, and Accenture) understand that the laws of many jurisdictions restrict private parties, private sector partners and/or government contractors from providing gifts or other things of value to government officials, and in some cases require reporting of such gifts. Likewise, some government officials are restricted from accepting gifts or other things of value in many jurisdictions. Although no admission is being charged to any attendee, if required by law, regulation, policy, or otherwise, attendees may reimburse the host for costs related to their attendance. In such case, the per-person price of this conference is approximately US$1,650. This includes meals (valued at US$300), materials, speakers, conference facilities, security and logistical support. In addition, the regulations of certain jurisdictions allowing for the attendance and participation of government officials and employees at events with a legitimate public purpose and benefit for the government agency, subject to the approval of the appropriate agency head, at "widely attended" events, and at educational events, may be relevant to this event. Please check with your ethics counsel to verify that you are permitted to attend this event and to determine whether any reporting of attendance and/or reimbursement of costs will be required. If documentation is needed, please contact Leadership for a Networked World at