Category Archives: Research

CPE, Austin Police Department Release New Research on Racial Disparities in Austin

(AUSTIN, TX) — Today at a press conference at the Austin Police Department headquarters, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo joined Center for Policing Equity (CPE) President and Cofounder Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff and Director of Law Enforcement Engagement Chief Chris Burbank to release the findings of, “The Science of Policing Equity: Measuring Fairness in the Austin Police Department”, a new report analyzing racial disparities in the Austin Police Department.

Read more here.

CPE Study Supports Suspicion That Police Use of Force Is More Likely on Blacks

The vast majority of interactions between police officers and civilians end routinely, with no one injured, no one aggrieved and no one making the headlines. But when force is used, a new study from the Center for Policing Equity has found, the race of the person being stopped by officers is significant. Read the full article on the New York Times. 

Justice from within: The relations between a procedurally just organizational climate and police organizational efficiency, endorsement of democratic policing, and officer well-being.

Recent clashes between law enforcement and the public have led to increased attention on policing strategies that build trust and motivate cooperation in communities through the application of fair procedures and decision-making. A growing body of policing research has highlighted that officers commonly report working within police departments that lack procedural fairness and that these intra-departmental dynamics influence officers motivation and behavior on the street. This study builds on this work by examining the influence of a procedurally fair organizational climate on officer’s organizational behavior, commitment to democratic policing, and well-being. Patrol officers and sergeants in a large urban police force completed surveys assessing their perceptions of their department, the communities they police, their views on different policing styles, and their well-being. Results showed that when officers were in a procedurally fair department, they were more likely to trust and feel obligated to obey their supervisors, less likely to be psychologically and emotionally distressed, and less likely to be cynical and mistrustful about the world in general and the communities they police in particular. More importantly, these effects were associated with greater endorsement of democratic forms of policing, increased organizational efficiency, and officer well-being. Taken together these results clearly show the utility of infusing procedural justice into the internal working climate as a means to improve police officer job performance, their well-being, and their relationship with the communities they police. Continue reading here.

U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Announces New Research Partnership with CPE, EEOC to Advance Diversity in Law Enforcement

(Washington, DC) — Today, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, announced a research partnership with the Center for Policing Equity to advance diversity in law enforcement through a Civil Rights Division-Equal Employment Opportunity Commission interagency effort.  Read Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gupta’s full announcement here.


The Impact of Psychological Science on Policing in the United States: Procedural Justice, Legitimacy, and Effective Law Enforcement

The May 2015 release of the report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing highlighted a fundamental change in the issues dominating discussions about policing in America. That change has moved discussions away from a focus on what is legal or effective in crime control and toward a concern for how the actions of the police influence public trust and confidence in the police. This shift in discourse has been motivated by two factors—first, the recognition by public officials that increases in the professionalism of the police and dramatic declines in the rate of crime have not led to increases in police legitimacy, and second, greater awareness of the limits of the dominant coercive model of policing and of the benefits of an alternative and more consensual model based on public trust and confidence in the police and legal system. Psychological research has played an important role in legitimating this change in the way policymakers think about policing by demonstrating that perceived legitimacy shapes a set of lawrelated behaviors as well as or better than concerns about the risk of punishment. Those behaviors include compliance with the law and cooperation with legal authorities. These findings demonstrate that legal authorities gain by a focus on legitimacy. Psychological research has further contributed by articulating and demonstrating empirical support for a central role of procedural justice in shaping legitimacy, providing legal authorities with a clear road map of strategies for creating and maintaining public trust. Given evidence of the benefits of legitimacy and a set of guidelines concerning its antecedents, policymakers have increasingly focused on the question of public trust when considering issues in policing. The acceptance of a legitimacy-based consensual model of police authority building on theories and research studies originating within psychology illustrates how psychology can contribute to the development of evidence-based policies in the field of criminal law. Read on here.

We Can Transform Perceptions of Black Men and Boys

According to Perception Institute’s research adviser Phillip Atiba Goff’s Center for Policing Equity, we can make policing fairer by using data to identify officers likely to engage in biased practices. In education, simply removing identifying demographic information from high stakes tests can improve scores for black students. Using data to track suspension rates by race can help us see where bias may be affecting decision making, while following specific scripts when providing criticism to students of color can help increase their desire to learn and improve. Read entire article here.

Researchers detail program to reduce racially biased policing in Minneapolis

National researchers presented to the Minneapolis City Council on Wednesday more details about a three-year, multi-million-dollar, federal program to study and reduce racially biased policing within the city.

During a City Council committee of the whole meeting, organizers discussed the National Initiative for Building Community Trust & Justice, a project launched at police departments in six cities including Minneapolis to try to build trust between communities and law enforcement especially in the wake of several high-profile, fatal shootings of black men and other incidents across the country. Read article here.

Obama to Police: Less Call of Duty Weapons, More Call of Data

The White House is pushing police departments to share more information on officer behavior. Under the data program, 21 police departments have elected to share information about police use of force, pedestrian and vehicle stops, officer-involved shootings, police behavior, and other data sets on law enforcement activity. The initiative is similar to one created recently by the Center for Policing Equity out of UCLA, which collects and analyzes data sets shared by roughly 20 police departments across the nation. Read article here