For decades, the process for how police police themselves has been inconsistent – if not opaque. In some states, like California, these proceedings were completely hidden. After a new police transparency law unsealed scores of internal affairs files, our reporters set out to examine these cases and the shadow world of police discipline. On Our Watch brings listeners into the rooms where officers are questioned and witnesses are interrogated to find out who this system is really protecting. Is it the officers, or the public they've sworn to serve?
Police Secrets Unsealed
On Our Watch is an investigative reporting podcast produced by KQED and NPR. The case files covered in the series were obtained as part of the California Reporting Project, a collaboration of 40 newsrooms formed in late 2018 to investigate misconduct and serious use of force that would be unsealed by a new state law. Several dozen journalists contributed to this effort. Special thanks to Joe Shapiro, Barbara Van Woerkom, Chris Hoff, Liana Simstrom, Lisa Pickoff-White, Julie Small and Alexandra Hall.
Sukey Lewis is a criminal justice reporter for KQED. In 2018, she co-founded the California Reporting Project, a coalition of newsrooms across the state focused on obtaining previously sealed internal affairs records from law enforcement. Sukey's investigation of the bail bonds industry won a National Edward R. Murrow Award and the radio documentary she co-reported on the California wildfires was a Peabody finalist. Sukey earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley.
Sandhya Dirks is the race and equity reporter for KQED. She has focused on investigating the criminal justice system and police misconduct since the beginning of her career. She’s also covered presidential politics from the swing state of Iowa, and her reporting into allegations of sexual harassment by the mayor of San Diego led to his resignation. Sandhya believes all stories are stories about power.
Cynthia Betubiza is an Ugandan-American journalist, currently working in production for NPR. She’s worked across the audio and digital industry on short and long-form pieces at organizations such as Vox, Marketplace, TED, and more. She received her Bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Master’s in Journalism from Columbia University.
Adelina Lancianese is a producer at the NPR Story Lab, a creative studio that fosters newsroom experimentation and incubates new podcasts. She focuses on investigative projects including NPR Music’s Louder Than A Riot podcast, the I’ll Be Seeing You radio series and Coal’s Deadly Dust, a collaboration with PBS Frontline, which was nominated for both Peabody and Emmy awards. Adelina came to NPR as a 2017 Kroc Fellow and graduated with honors from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.
Nina Sparling is a reporter and producer with KQED. She has reported on private investment in public housing, contaminated water in the Central Valley, and the State of Jefferson. Nina holds a master’s in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley.
Huo Jingnan (she/her) is an assistant producer on NPR's investigations team. She collaborates with member stations and reporters in the network to produce enterprise stories. She is the primary data reporter on Coal's Deadly Dust, a project investigating black lung disease's resurgence. The multimedia project won an Edward Murrow Award and NASEM Communications award, and was nominated for a George Foster Peabody award and two Emmy awards.
Leila Day is a Senior Producer at Pineapple Street Media and is the Executive Producer and co-host of The Stoop Podcast, stories about the black diaspora. Her work has been featured on NPR, 99% Invisible, the BBC and other outlets. Before The Stoop, she was an editor at Al Jazeera's podcast network and worked on creating and editing award-winning narrative driven journalism. She began her journalism career at KALW where she worked as a health care and criminal justice reporter. During that time, she contributed as an editor, taught audio storytelling to inmates at San Quentin and helped develop curriculum for training upcoming reporters.
Alex Emslie is criminal justice editor for KQED. He has been an investigative reporter focused on police misconduct and deadly force for over a decade. He co-founded the California Reporting Project in 2018 with Lewis and other journalists, seeking to obtain previously secret internal police files and tell the public what they show. Emslie’s past reporting on policing and mental illness was cited in amicus briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court. He believes in the civic responsibility of the press.
Supervising Senior Producer
Nicole Beemsterboer is the Supervising Senior Producer of the Enterprise Storytelling Unit at NPR, where she oversees the longform podcasts Invisibilia, Rough Translation and Embedded, in addition to limited-run series like On Our Watch. She’s been recognized with journalism's highest honors, including the George Foster Peabody Award, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. Previously, she served as the Senior Producer of Investigations at NPR and was a producer on NPR's daily flagship news program, Morning Edition. Beemsterboer is a graduate of Indiana University and began her career in public radio as a reporter at NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Indiana.
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