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LAPD Chief Bratton Speaks Out: What's Wrong With Criminal Justice Research--and How to Make it Right

NCJ Number
National Institute of Justice Journal Issue: 257 Dated: June 2007 Pages: 28-30
Date Published
June 2007
3 pages
Publication Series
This article offers excerpts of a speech made by Los Angeles Police Department Chief Bill Bratton at the 2006 National Institute of Justice’s annual conference, which focused on the tension between criminal justice practitioners and researchers.
The main argument is that recent criminal justice research is seen by the policing community as both irrelevant to their actual work and derogatory toward police work in general. In making this argument, Chief Bratton claims that for the last half of the 20th century, crime researchers and practitioners disagreed about the causes of crime and how to control it. While most researchers claim that crime is caused by a combination of different factors such as poverty, economic disparities, and racism, most law enforcement practitioners view the main cause of crime as human behavior. Moreover, while most research seems to play down the role of police officers in controlling crime, Chief Bratton argues that his experience has shown him that police officers can control and change behavior, even within the confines of contributing factors to crime, like poverty and neighborhood disadvantage. Chief Bratton challenges criminal justice researchers to conduct more research on the ground, so to speak, with police practitioners as partners, rather than continuing to conduct their research from the ivy towers of the academy. Chief Bratton also challenges researchers to conduct field-relevant research that offers findings and theories that can be implemented in the field.

Date Published: June 1, 2007