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Using Officer-Driven Research to Meet Policing Challenges

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2018
2 pages
After noting that many law enforcement policies and practices are based on traditions, experiences, and instincts indoctrinated in the police-academy and field-training programs, this paper describes ways in which research is being used to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of police policies and practices.
The author of this paper is a lieutenant with the Vallejo Police Department (California) and a participant in many organized efforts to increase the use of research in the development of policing policies and practices. He is a participant in the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) Scholars program, which has supported 40 research-oriented officers. He is also a board member of the newly formed American Society of Evidence-Based Policing (ASEBP), which is leading practitioner-driven efforts to support research from within the ranks of policing. The LEADS scholars and members of ASEBP are involved in research at their departments. This effort is intended to orient law enforcement agencies toward the institutionalization of research in local law enforcement efforts to improve the effectiveness of police policies and practices. The author describes his recent completion of a randomized controlled trial in partnership with BetaGov, a nonprofit organization that emphasizes practitioner-led research-based trials in police jurisdictions. This particular project determined that patrol cars equipped with automatic license plate readers had a 140-percent improvement in the detection of stolen cars compared with cars in which the readers were not operated. Other law enforcement agencies can replicate such research for comparison.

Date Published: October 1, 2018