Research Experience

  • Community Engagement to Support Development of the Boulder Police Department’s Reimagining Policing Plan (2022 to 2023)—Principal Investigator. This project assisted the Boulder Police Department with gathering and integrating community input into the agency’s draft master plan. This project included the development and administration of a randomized community survey and qualitative data collection with community members that are historically under-represented in household surveys. This project was conducted with funding from the City of Boulder.
  • Review of Vermont Traffic Stop Data (2022)—Principal Investigator. The purpose of this project was to review the traffic stop data collection and dissemination process used by the State of Vermont with the goal of maximizing the value of these data for conducting ongoing assessments of racial disproportionality. A mixed methods approach was used including analysis of traffic stop data, document review, and qualitative interviews with stakeholders. Information was used to produce recommendations for change that would improve the quality and utility of traffic stop data collected by law enforcement agencies in Vermont. This project was conducted with funding from the Vermont Criminal Justice Council.
  • A Multi-Site Evaluation of Automated License Plate Readers (2022 to 2023)—Principal Investigator. Some evidence suggests that LPRs can be effective in reducing crime. This research, however, has evaluated older technology. Newer systems can capture additional information (such as color of vehicle) that was previously unavailable. With funding from Axon and Flock, this project was a multi-site study designed to test the crime reduction impacts of LPRs.
  • The Proliferation of Ghost Guns: Regulation Gaps and Challenges for Law Enforcement (2021)—Principal Investigator. The term “ghost gun” encompasses a variety of firearms produced from components that are not currently regulated by federal firearm laws. Most commonly, ghost guns are produced from components purchased (generally online) from businesses and individuals that most often include nearly finished aluminum or polymer frames or receivers (also known as 80% lowers or 80% build kits). In this study, we addressed current knowledge gaps in regard to LEAs’ experience with ghost guns to provide a national overview of current perceptions, practices, and recommendations for improving public policy. Interviews with command, patrol, forensics, and specialized units [e.g., Crime Gun Intelligence Centers (CGICs), Firearms Examination Units (FEUs)] from 24 LEAs revealed that agencies’ level of awareness and planning for ghost guns grew as their rate of recoveries increased. This project was conducted with funding from Everytown for Gun Safety.
  • Multi-Modal Analysis of Body Worn Camera Recordings: Evaluating Novel Methods for Measuring Police Implementation of Procedural Justice (2020 to 2023)—Principal Investigator. The purpose of this project is two-fold: (1) develop novel techniques to automate analysis of BWC recordings of police-community interactions and evaluate officers’ adherence to principles of procedural justice and; (2) use a randomized controlled trial to assess the accuracy of those techniques by systematically comparing them to evaluations of BWCs recordings done manually by human raters under conditions of high and low procedural justice. This project was conducted with funding from the NIJ.
  • Police Stops, Crime Prevention, and Community Reaction: A Randomized Field Experiment in Violent Crime Host Spots (2020 to 2023)—Principal Investigator. Hot spots policing has consistently been shown to reduce crime. Strategies that rely on high levels of police presence, however, may have negative consequences for police-community relationships. Aggressive policing action may undermine community cooperation. This project tested a strategy that focused officers in hot spot areas after providing the officers with 20-hours of procedural justice training. Through a randomized field experiment, this project tested if officers could conduct hot spots policing in high crime areas while preventing harm to neighborhood perceptions of the police. Community sentiment was measured through in-person computer-assisted personal interviews (CAPI). Project funding was provided by NIJ.
  • Adverse Impacts of Organizational Stress on Officer Health and Wellness: Causes, Correlates, and Mitigation (2021 to date)—Principal Investigator. This project will use multiple methods to better understand the factors that contribute to officer health and wellness. Data include: agency-supplied administrative data on officers, officer self-report data, and physiological data from biometric devices for a subset of officers in both agencies, and focus group data from officers, supervisors, and commanders. The analytical plan involves structural equation modeling, mixed-model trajectory analysis of physiological data, testing Granger causality sequences, cluster analysis, and qualitative analysis of focus-group based data. This project was conducted with funding from the NIJ.
  • From Research to Reality: Recruiting More Women into the Policing Profession (2021 to date)—Principal Investigator. This project aims to help police practitioners and researchers understand the reasons behind the lack of female representation in policing, and specific messages and strategies to recruit and retain women police. Specifically, the project team is: (1) Conducting a review of agencies’ online recruitment materials; (2) holding focus groups with over 60 women in law enforcement; (3) conducting an online experiment to see what kinds of recruitment materials women prefer; (4) implementing and evaluating practices to improve recruitment of women in two law enforcement agencies; and (5) disseminating actionable findings. This project was conducted with funding from the NIJ.
  • Census of Law Enforcement Training Academies (CLETA) (2021 to date)—Senior Advisor. The CLETA will enumerate and describe the characteristics of academies that provide basic training to new law enforcement recruits. This will be done through a multimodal survey employing web and mail data collection modes. Key objectives of CELTA include (1) updating frame information to enumerate all law enforcement academies that provide basic training, (2) revising instrumentation to better reflect current training practices and data needs, (3) ensuring high response rates and representativeness, and (4) conducting weighting and imputation as needed to ensure high-quality national estimates.
  • Law Enforcement Core Statistics (LECS) Program (2020 to 2023)—Senior Advisor. The LECS program is a series of surveys to provide statistics about personnel, operations, policies, and procedures of LEAs. The 2019 LECS includes the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) survey, the Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies (CSLLEA), and research and development activity. This project was conducted with funding from the BJA.
  • Survey of Campus Law Enforcement Agencies (SCLEA) (2019 to 2020)—Principal Investigator. The 2021 SCLEA will enumerate and describe the characteristics of LEAs operated by public and private postsecondary education institutions. This will be done through a multimodal survey employing web and mail data collection modes. Key objectives of the 2021 SCLEA program include (1) developing streamlined methods for universe construction and frame updating, (2) maintaining consistency with critical items from past SCLEA data collections, (3) ensuring high response rates and representativeness, and (4) conducting weighting and imputation as needed to ensure high-quality national estimates. This project was conducted with funding from the BJA.
  • Enhancing the Law Enforcement Response to Victims of Residential Burglary (2019 to 2020)—Principal Investigator. With funding from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), RTI will (1) develop a victim-support services program focused on residential burglary, (2) implement it in two sites, (3) evaluate its effectiveness, and (4) disseminate the findings to facilitate broad replication. The program will be evaluated through a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with victims randomized to the treatment group, which will receive enhanced victim services, or the control group, which will receive business as usual. The impact of this approach will be assessed through a self-report survey of victims.
  • Developing and Validating Self-Guided Wellness and Stress Management Tools for Law Enforcement Agencies (2017 to date)—Principal Investigator. Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), this grant supports the development of a methodology that facilitates the creation of agency-specific stress reduction programs derived from agencies and officers’ unique experiences and needs. Leads the development and customization of survey instruments to ensure that they are appropriate for measuring the occupational stresses that law enforcement officers face. Oversees the development and implementation of the customized interventions, which consist of mindfulness training, psychophysiological awareness training, sleep hygiene, physical activity components, or a combination of these. Disseminates project findings through both research- and practitioner-focused outlets.
  • Law Enforcement Core Statistics (LECS) Program (2015 to 2020)—Principal Investigator. The LECS program is a series of surveys to provide statistics about personnel, operations, policies, and procedures of LEAs. The LECS program consists of multiple data collection efforts, including the LEMAS survey, the CSLLEA, and supplemental surveys to the LEMAS on special topics such as forensic sciences services and body-worn camera usage. This project was conducted with funding from the BJS.
  • Data Valuation (2015 to 2019)—Principal Investigator. LEAs vary greatly in size, activities, and technology acquisition. The goal of the Data Valuation project was to understand the relative importance of different types of data to different types of agencies by producing information about how agencies generate, use, and integrate data throughout their organizations. This project was conducted with funding from the NIJ.
  • Warrant Prioritization (2015 to 2019)—Principal Investigator. The Warrant Prioritization project developed predictive models to help understand the public safety risk associated with outstanding warrants. These models give LEAs a sophisticated tool to prioritize which warrants should be served first or should get the greatest level of attention. A field trial was used to evaluate the effect of this prioritization process. This project was conducted with funding from the NIJ. Data available online.
  • Law Enforcement Rapid Information System (LERIS) (2015 to 2017)—Task Lead. The LERIS was designed to provide information to practitioners on a more routine and frequent basis than other data collections carried out by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. As part of the LERIS, RTI conducted the first body-worn camera supplement to the LEMAS. This project was conducted with funding from the BJS.
  • Near Repeat Burglary Intervention (2012 to 2018)—Co-Principal Investigator. For more than a decade, research has shown that once a burglary occurs on a street, nearby homes are at a much higher risk of being burglarized over the next 1 to 2 weeks. Using an RCT, this project, funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), tested whether quickly notifying community residents that they are at an increased risk for a burglary (and providing burglary prevention tips) can disrupt further incidents of burglary. This project resulted in the creation of an automated near repeat area identifier tool that will be freely available to other LEAs that want to develop similar intervention programs. Responsible for overall project management, coordinating activities at participating LEAs, and spatial and statistical analyses to evaluate the impact on crime and citizens’ perceptions.
  • Evidence-Based Policy Translation and Dissemination (2012 to 2014)—Project Manager. The Police Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing policing through innovation and research. A central goal of the organization is to make rigorous research more accessible to law enforcement practitioners. To this end, the Police Foundation maintains a website and is developing applications (apps) for Apple products to further the dissemination of this information. Managed website content, developed structured abstract protocols, and managed the development of the app.
  • Social Business Software for Law Enforcement (2011 to 2014)—Co-Principal Investigator. Social business software, or enterprise social software, is a web-based software platform designed to facilitate communication within organizations. Under a project funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the highly flexible JIVE platform was customized for use in the Redlands Police Department (RPD), a midsize LEA. The platform served as a central destination for electronic documents and crime analysis products. It was used to coordinate and share information within the department on long-term strategic projects and to facilitate interagency information sharing by enrolling users from other nearby agencies. Responsible for project management, managing the development of the platform, and assessing the impact of the platform on RPD operations.
  • Crime Mapping and Intelligence Gathering with Mobile Devices (2011 to 2013)—Co-Principal Investigator. The availability of high-performance mobile device hardware and commercial off-the-shelf apps has driven significant interest in how mobile devices can be optimized for law enforcement purposes. Funded by NIJ, this project had two goals: (1) identify the mobile data needs of law enforcement officers and (2) build custom apps to deliver and capture this information and to evaluate the effectiveness of the device and apps using experimental methodology. This project produced two apps: one allowed patrol officers to enter field contact information directly from their mobile devices, and the second allowed officers to conduct crime mapping and analysis directly from their devices. Responsible for overall project management, oversaw app development, and coordinated evaluation efforts.
  • Integrating Evidence-Based Practices into a Law Enforcement Agency (2010 to 2012)—Embedded Criminologist. With funding from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), the RPD hired a fulltime criminologist to ensure that the agency was adopting practices consistent with the best available evidence. Responsible for integrating evidence into routine law enforcement practices, translating evidence into actionable information for the agency, and managing external research projects that involved agency data and resources.
  • Evaluation of the Closed Circuit Television System (CCTV) in Philadelphia, PA (2009 to 2010)—Research Assistant. LEAs have rapidly adopted CCTV, despite mixed evidence of its effectiveness in reducing crime. This study assessed the impact of 18 cameras deployed by the Philadelphia Police Department. After controlling for long-term trends and seasonality, a reduction in crime was found in the areas immediately surrounding the cameras. Responsible for digitizing CCTV viewsheds, conducting longitudinal hierarchical nonlinear modeling, and assessing displacement and diffusion of benefits.
  • Philadelphia Foot Patrol Experiment (2008 to 2010)—Research Assistant. Police foot patrols have long been believed to improve community relations but not reduce crime. In 2008, the Philadelphia Police Department undertook an initiative to place newly hired officers on foot patrol assignments. Crime analysis was used to identify 120 high-crime intersections to serve as the basis of the foot patrol areas. Using a stratified randomization, high-crime areas were assigned to treatment (pairs of officers on foot patrol) or control. Officers worked from Tuesday morning to Saturday night in two shifts (10 am to 6 pm and 6 pm to 2 am). Analysis after 3 months of foot patrol activity suggested significant decreases in violent crime in the treatment areas. Responsible for hot spot area identification, qualitative field work with officers in foot patrol areas, and assessment of change in crime during the intervention.
  • Supporting Crime and Statistical Analysis in the Camden (NJ) Police Department (2006 to 2009)—Research Assistant. The Department of Criminal Justice at Temple University was asked to assist in developing the crime mapping and data analysis capacity of the Camden Police. Provided support for evaluating the impact of crime reduction strategies and developed capabilities among officers assigned to the crime mapping unit.
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