Dr. Will Tchakirides is a historian of U.S. policing and a public humanities professional specializing in digital storytelling and community-based archiving. His academic research explores how Midwestern cities and invested publics have made and re-made police power in the 20th century, and what that’s meant for policed peoples.
Currently, he is writing a book that examines how police departments establish and reinforce their legitimacy through institutional memory work. It focuses on Milwaukee, WI’s influential brand of “reform era” policing and the role that narrative has played in making and sustaining police power. The book aims to help us better understand how organized police departments constitute and re-affirm their authority, and what folks have done and can do to challenge that process.
As a public historian, Will is experienced in oral history project development, online content curation, and archival records and collections management. He has collaborated on initiatives — national and local — that have helped museums and organizations build more usable, complete interpretations of the past on their own terms. Recently, he assisted on the Smithsonian’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 violence. More on “Accountable to No One”