NACOLE Academic Symposium

NACOLE Academic Symposium

NACOLE John Jay College 2016 Academic Symposium Resource page

Full information related to this year's symposium can be found here.


Measuring, Managing, and Enhancing Procedural Justice in Policing: Promise and Pitfalls, Robert E. Worden & Sarah J. McLean

When people have contacts with the police, the fairness with which police are perceived to act affects citizens’ trust and confidence in the police and their sense that the police deserve to be obeyed – that is, the procedural justice that citizens subjectively experience affects the legitimacy of the police. The primary objective of this NIJ-funded project was to learn whether and how the measurement of procedural justice would lead to its better management. Information on the quality of police-citizen encounters was drawn from surveys of citizens who had contact with the police in each of two cities, Schenectady and Syracuse, NY. Following the accumulation of baseline survey data, survey results on citizens’ satisfaction and judgments about procedural justice in their police contacts were summarized and reported to command staffs on a monthly basis through the departments’ respective Compstat meetings. Thus the project provided for measures of police performance with respect to procedural justice with sufficient periodicity that the information was potentially useful in managing performance.

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What Matters for the Code of Silence, Sanja Kutnjak Ivkovic, Maria R. Haberfeld, & Robert Peacock

The purposes of this paper are threefold: first, show how to measure the code of silence empirically; second, provide scholarly evidence of the extent and nature of the code; and, third, tease out the key correlates of the police officers' reluctance to report. This paper uses the theory of police integrity and the accompanying methodology to study the code. In 2013-2014, a police integrity survey was used to measure the contours of police integrity among 604 police officers from eleven police agencies located in the Midwest and the East Coast of the United States. The questionnaire contains descriptions of 11 scenarios describing various forms of police misconduct, followed by seven questions measuring officer views of scenario seriousness, the appropriate and expected discipline, and willingness to report misconduct. The results show that the code of silence is far from a simple prohibition of reporting. Our results point out that the code varies greatly across the scenarios, both for supervisors and line officers. Though substantially different, the supervisor code and the line officer code are the most similar for the scenarios evaluated as the most serious. Multivariate analyses reveal that the key factor related to the police officers' reluctance to report is the perception that the other officers would not report. In addition, familiarity with the official rules, evaluation of misconduct as serious, and the expectation of harsher discipline are also negatively related to the code. 

Improving the National Collection of Law Enforcement Use of Force Data, Cynthia Barnett-Ryan & Shelley S. Hyland

Lawmakers, practitioners, the media and other stakeholders have noted the need for a comprehensive national data collection that captures the prevalence and circumstances of use of force. The collection of use of force statistics has been mandated as a responsibility of the Attorney General since the passage of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The Deaths in Custody Reporting Act (DICRA 2000 and 2013) added additional responsibilities by requiring information collected on the deaths of any individuals who are detained, under arrest, or in the process of being arrested. As agencies under the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) have developed data collections to address these needs. However, these past efforts are not without limitations. Currently, the FBI and BJS are leading efforts to improve upon existing collections to obtain needed data on use of force incidents. This presentation will provide a summary of the collections maintained by these two agencies and their plans for providing national estimates of law enforcement use of force in a coordinated approach.

Exploring the Utility of Force Factors for Community Engagement about Use of Force, Matthew J. Hickman & Robert Scales

Presenting the public with information about the distribution of force incidents in terms of their proportionality creates an opportunity for engagement about use of force, and encourages discussion about cases that fall in the “tails” of the distribution.  One method that is particularly well suited for this purpose is the force factor, which summarizes in a single numeric score the extent to which officer force is proportional to suspect resistance in particular incidents, as well as across a collection of incidents.  We will present a dashboard tool created for police departments that enables both internal review and analysis of use of force, as well as external reporting of aggregate information.  Force factors for a sample of the 80 departments in the database will be presented, representing the content analysis of over 8,000 official reports of use of force.  We will present summary statistics for these agencies, along with several examples of how force factors can be reported to the public (for example, in annual reports).  Finally, we will outline a model process for engaging the community in discussions about the distribution of force. 

Body-Worn Camera Implementation Challenges and Outcomes: Lessons Learned from a Pilot Study, Jennifer Fratello & Matthew Buttice

Body-worn cameras have been embraced across the country as a tool for increasing police accountability and reducing misconduct. While investments in the technology have been significant, research on its effectiveness is still in the still in the early stages. This article traces the history of the use of body-worn cameras, including the development of a body-worn camera policy, in Denver. This article then presents findings from the Office of the Independent Monitor’s analysis of camera activation during uses of force, as well as implications that should be considered by other jurisdictions when developing a body-worn camera policy. The article also presents findings from the analysis of trends in data, focusing on incidents that occurred during the body-worn camera pilot project (July-December 2014), compared to the same months in 2013 and 2015. Finally, this article discusses the significant gap that forthcoming research sponsored by the federal government will fill, as well as the need for additional independent research.

Body-Warn Cameras and and Civilian Oversight: A Case Study on Camden, Maria Ponomarenko & Barry Friedman

The paper will use as a case study the policymaking process that the authors, under the auspices of the Policing Project at NYU Law, are helping to facilitate in Camden, New Jersey around the department’s new body-worn camera (BWC) program. At the request of the Camden County Police Department (CCPD), we have designed a comprehensive, four-pronged approach to soliciting community input, including an online community survey, a roundtable discussion with community leaders, a town-hall style meeting to the public at large, and interviews with select officers who will be using the cameras during an initial pilot phase. At each stage of the feedback process, we will work to educate community members about the key issues and tradeoffs involved so as to enable a meaningful discussion and exchange. After this information gathering process is complete, we will work with the CCPD to revise its policy in light of the comments we receive, and will prepare a report that responds to the comments received, explaining either how each comment is reflected in the policy, or why the CCPD believed it advisable to proceed otherwise.

Improving Use of Force Data Collection: One More Step Toward Constructive Community Dialogue with Criminal Justice Organizations, Jon M. Shane

In its current state, American policing cannot mount a productive counter argument for the vociferous minority view that U.S. policing is experiencing a “crisis” regarding use of force.  Policing lacks the fundamental ingredient for such a conversation, which allows the minority view to hijack the conversation and which limits law enforcement’s ability to engage the community in a constructive dialog about the nature, extent and realities of police use of force.  That ingredient is empirical data. There are no national standards that address use of force data collection; no national repository of incident-level use of force data to inform training, supervision and tactics; and no source for law enforcement to consult and make informed comparisons between jurisdictions on the nature and scope as legislators and appointed leaders debate new restrictions on the police.  The current summary system maintained by the FBI entitled Justifiable Homicide is limited; some of the limitations have been discussed in policing research dating to at least 1979 and the empirical interest in measuring police use of force dates to at least 1963.  These limitations keep the police, researchers and community members from addressing how a given incident is consistent with or divergent from the broader contextual patterns and trends across incidents and how agencies compare to each other.

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Early Intervention Systems: Predicting Adverse Interactions Between Police and the Public, Jennifer Helsby, Samuel Carton, Kenneth Joseph, Ayesha Mahmud, Youngsoo Park, Joe Walsh, Lauren Haynes, Crystal Cody, & Estella Patterson

We have developed a prototype data-driven early intervention system that uses a diverse set of data sources to more accurately predict the officers who will have an adverse incident. Data sources include anonymized internal police department records on arrests, field interviews, citations, incidents, dispatches, trainings, traffic stops, and internal affairs data, in combination with publicly available data. We used machine learning to determine which aspects of the data best predict whether an officer has an adverse incident in the next year. We’ve built this prototype using data from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Validation is performed using historical data from the police department going back 10 years. The predictive approach is able to significantly improve accuracy compared with the existing early intervention system: preliminary results indicate a 55% reduction in false positives and a 15% increase in true positives. In addition to accuracy, the machine learning approach generates a continuous risk score that can be used to allocate based on resource levels.