Interventions to Improve Police Effectiveness

Date Tuesday, September 12, 2023
Time 3 p.m. EDT
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The policing profession has faced twin crises in recent years: Public perception that police too often use excessive force, especially against Black and minority citizens, and falling rates of solving crimes—particularly violent crimes—during a period when homicides have been rising to historically high levels. This webinar looks at recent research evaluating promising approaches to address these challenges. In Chicago, a pilot training course taught officers how to consider alternative explanations for situations they encounter. Officers randomly selected to receive this training were not only less likely to use force and make discretionary arrests, but were also less likely to be injured on duty, suggesting that reduced use of force did not come at the expense of officer safety. Another study found that excessive use of force tends to cluster within groups of police officers, a finding that could be used by department chiefs to interrupt cycles of escalating use of force. Finally, a third study evaluated the use of Area Technology Centers (ATCs), which gather and process video and digital evidence for serious crimes. To date, it has found that ATCs are now utilized by detectives in most all homicide investigations, and detectives who were interviewed believe that they have made an important contribution. In this webinar, NCGVR-supported researchers will discuss their findings and how they can address current challenges faced by police.


Oeindrila Dube: Improving Officer Decisionmaking in High-stakes Situations

Oeindrila Dube

Oeindrila Dube is the Philip K. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. An economist and political scientist, Dr. Dube uses experimental and non-experimental methods to assess the causes of violence and crime in countries around the world. She has analyzed how changes in U.S. gun laws affect homicides across the border in Mexico and determined how economic shocks perpetuate insurgent violence in Colombia. She is also a research affiliate of the National Bureau of Economics, the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development, and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, where she co-directs the Crime and Violence Initiative.

NCGVR-funded project: Situational Decision-Making: A Training to Improve Officer Decision-Making in High-Stakes Situations

Marie Ouellet: Officer Networks and Firearm Use

Marie Ouellet

Marie Ouellet is an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Georgia State University. Her research focuses on delinquent groups, including how they emerge and evolve, and the role networks play in this process. She is currently conducting a longitudinal study on police networks to better understand the informal structure of policing, including the consequences of these network structures on the diffusion of behaviors and attitudes. Ouellet’s work has been published in Criminology, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, and Social Networks.

NCGVR-funded project: The Structure of Officer-Involved Shootings: Investigating the Social Transmission of Firearm Use

Philip J. Cook: More and Better Digital Evidence for Homicide Investigations

Philip J. Cook

Philip J. Cook is Sanford Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University. He is one of the first scholars to undertake research on gun violence prevention. In 2020 his contributions in this area were recognized by the award of the Stockholm Prize in Criminology. Earlier, in 2001 he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Medicine. His research has focused on the costly consequences of the widespread availability of guns, and what might be done to reduce these costs. His books include Gun Violence: The Real Costs (Oxford University Press, 2000, co-authored with Jens Ludwig), The Gun Debate (Oxford University Press 2014, 2020, co-authored with Kristin A. Goss); and Policing Gun Violence (Oxford University Press, 2023), coauthored with Anthony Braga. He is currently the scientific director for a multi-faceted project to improve clearance rates for shooting cases in Chicago.

NCGVR-funded project: Clearance Rates: Reducing Gun Violence by Improving Police Investigations