Samuel Walker

University of Nebraska at Omaha

Dr. Walker, Emeritus Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, is a a nationally recognized expert on police accountability. He is the author of 13 books and dozens of articles in prestigious publications. 

His most recent book, The New World of Police Accountability (2005) examines the most important recent developments in the field and the new “best practices,” including state of the art policies on the use of force, an early intervention system and a customer friendly complaint system. These best practices are incorporated in Justice Department Consent Decrees over the Los Angeles, Cincinnati and other police departments. His 2001 book, Police Accountability:

The Role of Citizen Oversight is the most comprehensive study of the subject available.

Dr. Walker’s most recent articles have appeared in the Department of Justice, Urban Institute Press, George Mason Civil Rights Journal, Criminal Justice Policy Review and Police Practice and Research. Among the issues he addresses are federal pattern or practice litigation; developments in New Orleans; early intervention systems; citizen oversight of the police; police accountability in organizations; mediation of citizen complaints: race, ethnicity and criminal justice; sustaining police reforms; and internal benchmarking for racial profiling.

He has served as a consultant to the U.S. Justice Department in its investigations of two police departments, and has spoken to numerous community groups around the country on citizen oversight of the police.

His work is available on his web site:

Dr. Walker recently won the W.E.B. Dubois Award from the Western Society of Criminology for his contributions to the field in the areas of race and ethnicity. During his career, Walker won numerous awards, grants and fellowships, including a $1million Congressional grant for a Police Professionalism Initiative (2002-2005), fellowships from the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Institute, the National ACLU Tribute to Civil Libertarians Award (2006), Faculty of the Year at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (2002) and the Distinguished Alumni Award from his alma mater, The Ohio State University (2001).

Dr. Walker received his Ph.D. in American History from The Ohio State University in 1973 and began teaching at the University of Nebraska in 1974. As a student, he was active in the civil rights movement, serving as a volunteer in the historic Mississippi “Freedom Summer” in 1964 to register black voters in the state. One of his fellow activists was Andrew Goodman, who along with Mickey Schwerner and James Chaney, was murdered at the beginning of the project by the Ku Klux Klan.

He continues to following civil liberties, most recently examining how the full range of issues has fared under 17 presidents in the modern era, from Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama. Poor Custodians: Presidents and Civil Liberties from Woodrow Wilson to George W. Bush, a work in progress, covers freedom of speech and press; religious liberty; due process of law; equal protection, including racial justice, women’s rights, lesbian and gay rights; privacy, including abortion, government data banks, and surveillance; and all the issues related to national security.

In addition to his publications and presentations to professional associations, Dr. Walker has served as a consultant to many large and small police departments, including Los Angeles, CA; Albuquerque, NM; Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati and Cleveland, OH; Miami, FL; Minneapolis, MN; and Phoenix, AZ, to name a few. He also is a member of the Working Group on Sexual Offenses by Police Officers at the International Association of Chiefs of Police.