John Rappaport and University of Chicago to Lead New Research Consortium Studying Police Misconduct

Researchers from multiple universities to study early-warning signs of officer misbehavior, interventions that impact conduct, and policies and procedures to head off problems

The University of Chicago will lead a timely new research consortium that will analyze police behavior at scores of departments across the country — to develop methods for early intervention to prevent misconduct. The National Police Early Intervention and Outcomes Research Consortium, with support from the Joyce Foundation, will include leading researchers from University of Chicago, Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, and University of California.

The consortium’s work comes amidst intense national debate on police accountability. Researchers will draw on data from Benchmark Analytics that cover virtually every aspect of police operations, including personnel, organizational structure, training, dispatch, arrests, use of force, complaints, and discipline. The consortium will aim to identify factors that lead to police misconduct as well as best practices for intervention by departments.

“Additional research will help us – and the public – better understand police behavior and how agencies can use data to handle officers who are causing problems,” says John Rappaport, Professor of Law, Ludwig and Hilde Wolf Research Scholar at the University of Chicago Law School, who will chair the consortium. “We will learn more about what interventions work to get off-track officers back on track and whether and how police departments can prevent problems from occurring.”

Rappaport is one of the country’s eminent experts on criminal procedure and policing. His widely cited research has looked at the linkage between police unions and misconduct; the influence of private market tools, such as insurance, on regulating police behavior; and the frequency at which fired officers are rehired by other law enforcement agencies.

The consortium’s research will focus on leveraging the high volume of data police departments already capture to drive change and help inform outcomes, policies, and processes in the public sector. Researchers will assess current interventions on behavior, additional steps that might be taken, and, eventually, how to tailor interventions to specific officer needs.

Researchers hope to begin producing initial findings within 12 months.

Big data Policing