Can a police department change from within? Can it win community trust without dealing with its troubled past? Can it diversify its ranks to reflect the demographic makeup of its city? NPR's Embedded podcast and The Marshall Project spent a year investigating Yonkers, which has a long and ugly history of bad policing just north of New York City. The Justice Department has demanded an overhaul of the police department and has been monitoring it for more than a decade. In the first episode of our five-part series, we spend time with the Yonkers police commissioner, John Mueller, who has committed to do what the feds want, and more. A colorful and charismatic “cop’s cop,” he has promised to “reform” policing in Yonkers. In fact, he wants to turn his officers into guardians of the community, accountable to its citizens. How is that working out for him — and the city?
Photographed for The Marshall Project and NPR's Embedded.