The widespread protests in 2020 following George Floyd’s death changed the conversation about the future of the criminal legal system in the United States. For the first time, the national debate over police reform included abolitionist ideas, with a spotlight on people advocating for reducing the scope of policing and examining alternative methods to ensure public safety. However, abolitionist ideas and calls to “defund the police” are politically contentious, and recent polls show the initial surge in support for Black Lives Matter has dropped to previous levels, while increases in violence have put Americans on edge. Sociologist Rose Werth will examine how public policy can address public safety needs as well as racial equity. She will conduct interviews and surveys for her study.