Alex Vitale

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Alex Vitale

Alex S. Vitale is Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College and a Visiting Professor at London Southbank University. He has spent the last 25 years writing about policing and consults both police departments and human rights organizations internationally. He also serves on the New York State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He is also the author of “City of Disorder: How the Quality of Life Campaign Transformed New York Politics.”

Vitale’s academic writings on policing have appeared in Policing and Society, Police Practice and Research, Mobilization, and Contemporary Sociology. His writings also frequently appear in the New York Times, New York Daily News, The Nation, Vice News, Jacobin, and USA Today. He has also advised Bernie Sanders’ 2020 campaign concerning the candidate’s Justice and Safety for All proposal.[1]

He is a friend of Franklin Bynum and is active in the close Rykers Island and the End Gang Database campaigns.

Married to Elizabeth Palley.

Communist Party visit

OAKLAND, Calif.—Alex Vitale, sociology professor at Brooklyn College, will be featured here on Saturday, Nov. 16, from 5-7 p.m., in The End of Policing, an evening of conversation with local activists on abolition of policing.

The event, at the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library, is sponsored by the Northern California Communist Party, the Harry Bridges Club of San Francisco and People’s World.

In his recent work, “The End of Policing,” Vitale gives a scathing critique of police reformism and presents realistic alternatives to policing, such as restorative justice and harm reduction programs implemented in various departments around the world. The book attempts to spark a public discourse by telling the racist and anti-labor origins of modern policing as a tool of social control, in which police authority is inconsistent with community empowerment, social justice, and public safety.

Vitale says, “The origins and function of the police are intimately tied to the management of inequalities of race and class. The suppression of workers and the tight surveillance and micromanagement of black and brown lives have always been at the center of policing. Any police reform strategy that does not address this reality is doomed to fail.”

An example is the reformist idea of “community policing,” which focuses on police accountability, diversity, training, and community relations which so far do not produce positive results, either alone or in combination. “The problem,” Vitale says, “is not police training, police diversity, or police methods. The problem is the dramatic and unprecedented expansion and intensity of policing in the last 40 years, a fundamental shift in the role of police in society. The problem is policing itself.”

Vitale’s work touches on the War on Drugs, political repression of communists during the McCarthy era, militarization of policing, policing in schools, criminalization of sex work and more.

These ideas around police abolition are not necessarily new. Vitale follows the tradition of fellow intellectuals and activists such as Michelle Alexander (“The New Jim Crow”) and Angela Davis (“Are Prisons Obsolete?”), who have highlighted work about mass incarceration and racism in the United States.[2]

Houston anti-policing event

Alex Vitale January 11 2019·

"The end of policing: putting abolition into practice" - a conversation with Alex Vitale.

With special guests Judge Franklin Bynum, Judge DaSean Jones and Tarsha Jackson of the Texas Organizing Project Criminal Justice Director.


Alex Vitale copied these people into the Facebook post:

I'll be speaking in Houston on the 31st. — with Susan Eda, Barbara Scott, Amber Stafford-Maat, Ben Contreras, Robert Werth, Paul Swen, Rebecca Hlavinka, Juan Mangini, Charles W. Vallhonrat, Tomas Rodriguez, Jr. and Vince Santos.



Alex Vitale is a member of New York Democratic Socialists of America.

Houston DSA


Alex Vitale was previously a member of Houston Democratic Socialists of America.

CunyRising march

Alex Vitale March 10, 2016 ·


Lots of Brooklyn College colleagues at today's CunyRising march. — with Jeanne Theoharis, Michael Meagher and Jocelyn Wills.


Alex Vitale June 7, 2013 ·


My crew — with Robert Gangi, Rosa Squillacote and Jack Levinson at Second Annual Citizen of the City Awards.

Korean connection

Alex Vitale April 25, 2013 ·


Korean delegation @ B.C. to discuss protest policing.

Alex Vitale February 23, 2011 ·


With Harry Park (who at Dept. of Police Administration Yongin University) in Seoul, Korea for policing summit associated with the G20.