Dr. Will Tchakirides is a historian and public humanities worker specializing in digital storytelling and community-based archiving. His research explores how cities and invested publics made and re-made police power in the 20th century, and what that’s meant for policed peoples.
He is currently writing a book that examines how police departments establish and reinforce legitimacy and power through the selective harnessing of narrative and memory. This story focuses on Milwaukee, Wisconsin and its influential brand of “reform era” policing, but it offers applicable lessons for anyone trying to better understand how police agencies constitute and re-affirm their authority — and what people can do to challenge that process.
Will is also a public historian with over a decade of digital humanities, oral history, and archives experience. He has collaborated on projects that have helped institutions and organizations build more usable, complete interpretations of the past on their own terms. Most recently, he assisted on the Smithsonian Institution’s Our Shared Future: Reckoning with our Racial Past initiative.
Will’s dissertation explores the origins and maintenance of police power in Milwaukee and its relationship to Black-led movements for accountability and freedom from police violence. More on “Accountable to No One”