Bill Spelman tries to bridge the gap between theory and practice. In his day job, he is a professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, where he teaches courses in applied math and statistics, urban policy, and public management. Between 1997 and 2005, he was also executive director of the Texas Institute for Public Problem Solving, which trained 13,000 police officers throughout Texas in the practice of community policing. Before coming to UT in 1988, he spent seven years with the Police Executive Research Forum, a national association of big-city police chiefs, working with local police departments nationwide to develop the (then-new) concepts of community policing and the epidemiology of crime.
Spelman has won awards for teaching, research, and community service; two of his policing projects were finalists for the Ford Foundation’s program on Innovations in State and Local Government. He has written a half-dozen books and several dozen scholarly articles, mostly on police work, prisons, and urban economic development. He holds a B.A. in political science and economics from UCLA, an M.P.P. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in public policy from Harvard.
Spelman served on the Austin City Council between 1997 and 2000, and was reelected (nine years later, but without opposition) in 2009.
His wife, Niyanta, saves South American rainforests; his older son, Jasiel, is a computer ninja with a local high tech firm; his younger son, Ronan, is a 7th grader at Kealing Magnet Program at Kealing Middle School. They all live together in Hyde Park