Howard B. Hall
Inducted June 2019
Nominated by Sue-Ming Yang and Charlotte Gill, George Mason University
Howard Hall has served as the Chief of the Roanoke County (Virginia) Police Department (RCPD) since 2012. Prior to joining the RCPD, Chief Hall served for 26 years at all ranks and across multiple units in the Baltimore County Police Department where he retired as Captain in 2012. Chief Hall holds a Master of Public Administration degree and a Graduate Certificate in Police Administration from the University of Baltimore and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and is a past president of the Maryland/Delaware Chapter of the FBI National Academy Associates. Chief Hall has been nationally recognized for his efforts in promoting public safety, receiving the Public Service Award from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Distinguished Contribution to the Profession Award from the Baltimore County Police Foundation. He received the 2012 J. Stannard Baker Award for lifetime contributions to traffic safety from the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Evidence-Based Research and Practice:
Chief Hall’s efforts in promoting data driven policing and evidence-based approaches for traffic safety extend back to his leadership in Baltimore County, where he began his work developing and implementing the Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety Model at both local and national levels. He continued to lead efforts to implement DDACTS in the Roanoke County Police Department as Chief and has served as a mentor to others operationalizing the program. “I can distinctly remember when Chief Hall first came to Roanoke from Baltimore County Police Department,” noted Professor Cynthia Lum, director of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy. “He immediately engaged with our center, seeking a strong partnership with researchers and becoming an important part of our synergistic events. Chief Hall is part of small group of police leaders who has the courage and commitment to engage consistently with science for many years, even when generating, using, and receiving research evidence becomes challenging. You can see this commitment in his leadership with RCPD’s research with Professors Yang and Gill and in his long-term crime prevention efforts.”
Chief Hall was jointly nominated with Assistant Chief James Chapman of the Roanoke County Police Department by professors Sue-Ming Yang and Charlotte Gill of George Mason University for their efforts in supporting a major research initiative under the Smart Policing Initiative (now Strategies for Policing Innovation) to evaluate, using a randomized controlled trial, a program to improve police response to community members experiencing a mental health crisis. This new approach aimed to address a particularly underserved population—those who have called the police because they are in crisis but do not meet the criteria to be taken into emergency custody. Despite being CIT trained, officers often do not have many options to effectively address the needs of this specific group, who can generate repeated calls for police service. Chief Hall and Assistant Chief Chapman were instrumental in leading the development of a response protocol in collaboration with a 24-hour mobile crisis response team in which a mental health professional would take over crisis calls once officers stabilized the situation. The experiment tests whether the model effectively provides services to community members in terms of crisis mitigation, use of force reductions, and workload efficiency.
In their recommendation, Yang and Gill write that developing the project was complex and time consuming, requiring the sustained leadership, assistance, and commitment of both Hall and Chapman for the research to be successfully implemented. Both championed the innovative research design and its integrity, working together to ensure that the experiment was implemented well. This included working with individual officers, supervisors, staff, and dispatchers to ensure they were trained properly and that they understood what was expected of them, as well as maintaining regular contact with researchers to ensure that all aspects of the project were successful. In the words of Yang and Gill, “Chief Hall and Assistant Chief Chapman have always respected our role as research partners, found innovative ways to support us, and have always treated this collaboration as instrumental in creating evidence-based practices to improve mental health response.” Both Hall and Chapman continue to expand their efforts with Yang and Gill, and are now working on community surveys to gauge citizen perceptions of the police and their efforts related to people in mental crisis.
Statement from Inductee:
My first exposure to evidence-based policing came during my tenure with the Baltimore County (MD) Police Department. At the time, we were one of the demonstration sites for the Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS) model and I was working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other partners to develop the model and assist agencies with its implementation. DDACTS is a place-based, hot-spot approach that targets crime, traffic crashes, and other social harms in communities. During this process, I became acquainted with the Center for Evidence Based Crime Policy (CEBCP) and was immediately impressed with their focus on practitioner based research. The use of an evidence base to determine strategies and tactics that work simply makes sense.
In 2012, I was chosen to lead the Roanoke County (VA) Police Department (RCPD). We are a mid-size department of 158 personnel that serves a population of approximately 93,000 across 250 square miles. One of our initial goals was to implement the DDACTS model as a way of improving the deployment of our limited resources. At the same time, we became engaged with the CEBCP to better understand how we could use evidence based practices on a wider basis. One of our first collaborations was participating in the Receptivity to Research Survey. We found strong interest and willingness among our staff for participation in and use of evidence based policing. It is, after all, the work and dedication of our staff that has led to our successes in the implementation of evidence based strategies.
In 2016, we collaborated with the CEBCP on a Smart Policing Initiative grant that resulted in funding for a randomized control trial of a crisis response protocol. This is designed to more effectively deal with persons in crisis in the field. While this has been challenging, we hope to use the results to develop better law enforcement responses to people in mental health crisis and to advocate for resources for strategies that are effective. We have also worked with researchers from the CEBCP on a number of other projects that are being completed on several different topics. In addition, we are contributing to several projects on topics related to driver safety.
I strongly believe that our collaboration with the CEBCP and participation in the projects described has benefited our agency in several ways. First, it allows our personnel to contribute, in a broader way, to advancing our profession. It has also exposed our staff to evidence based principles that we can use to improve our effectiveness. Finally, I believe these efforts will help to sustain the use of evidence-based strategies and expand participation in research as the personnel who participate develop their careers and achieve leadership positions.
There is clearly an unlimited amount of work that can be done to advance evidence-based practices in our profession. I am hopeful that the Roanoke County Police Department will continue to engage in these efforts for many years to come. In addition to research into promising strategies, I hope that we will undertake the challenge of developing ways to help small and mid-size agencies, which make up the overwhelming majority of law enforcement agencies in the United States, implement evidence based strategies.
I am honored to have been selected for the Evidence-Based Policing Hall of Fame and hope that the contributions of the RCPD help to further this important work.
Contributions to Grants, Publications, and Projects:
- Bennett, Sierra, Odalis Alfaro, Brandi Harris, Tyler Figenbaum, Saim Bashir. (2018). Beyond Mere Observation: Examining the Factors Affecting Perception of Disorder and Implicit Biases. Honors Research Project. Department of Criminology, Law and Society, George Mason University.
- Hall, Howard B. (July 2009). Targeting Crash and Crime Hot Spots in Baltimore County. The Police Chief Magazine. International Association of Chiefs of Police.
- Hall, Howard B. (November 2009). Training Supports Traffic Safety Programs. The Police Chief Magazine. International Association of Chiefs of Police.
- Hall, Howard B. (June 2010). Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety-Its Application to Public Safety and Accreditation. The CALEA Update, The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
- Hall, Howard B. (May, 2011). I Am: Prevention Targeted at Young Drivers. The Police Chief Magazine. International Association of Chiefs of Police.
- Hall, Howard B. (July 2012). The National Law Enforcement Challenge: Redefined, Refocused, Reenergized. ,” The Police Chief Magazine. International Association of Chiefs of Police.
- Hall, Howard B. (June 2018). Crash Reporting Centers: Moving Crash Reporting Away from the Roadway. The Police Chief Magazine. International Association of Chiefs of Police.
- Hall, Howard B. and Thomas J. Gianni (July 2010). The Smooth Operator Program: Combating Aggressive Driving in the Mid-Atlantic. The Police Chief Magazine. International Association of Chiefs of Police.
- Hall, Howard B. and Anthony S. Lowman. (July 2017). Traffic Enforcement: Calculating the Benefits to the Community. The Police Chief Magazine. International Association of Chiefs of Police.
- Hall, Howard B. and Joseph E. Orange (September 2017). Police Collaborate with Sheriff and Courts to Implement “No Refusal” in Roanoke County. The Police Chief Magazine. International Association of Chiefs of Police.
- Hall, Howard B. and Emily N. Puls. (June 2010). Implementing DDACTS in Baltimore County: Using Geographic Incident Patterns to Deploy Enforcement. Geography and Public Safety Bulletin, National Institute of Justice.
- Hall, Howard B. and Emily N. Varga (July 2011). Data Driven Practices Maximize Resources Amid Shrinking Budgets. The Police Chief Magazine. International Association of Chiefs of Police.
- “Improving Police Response to Mental Health Crisis in a Rural Area” Bureau of Justice Assistance (Smart Policing Initiative) 2015-WY-BX-0007. See also http://www.strategiesforpolicinginnovation.com/spi-sites/roanoke-county-virginia-2015
- Telep, Cody and Cynthia Lum. (2014). The Receptivity of Officers to Empirical Research and Evidence-Based Policing: An examination of survey data from three agencies. Police Quarterly, 17, 359-385.
- Thompson, Paige S. (2018). Police Mentorship: Fostering Leadership Development And Career Goal Planning. Capstone in Policy and Practice. Department of Criminology, Law and Society George Mason University.
- Woestehoff, Skye and Allison Redlich. “Police Investigator Decision-Making in High-Profile Cases.” (Grant Funded by the National Science Foundation).
- Yang, Sue-Ming, Charlotte Gill, L. Caitlin Kanewske, and Paige Thompson. (2018). Analysis of Police Perceptions Regarding Responses to Mental Health- Related Calls in a Rural Area. Victims and Offenders, 13(8), 1132-1152.
- Yang, Sue-Ming, Charlotte E. Gill, SangJun Park, Yi-Fang Lu. Spatial Concentration and Comorbidity Analysis of Mental Health Calls. (manuscript in preparation).
- Roanoke County (VA) Police Department
- BJA Strategies for Policing Innovation: Roanoke County Police Department
- Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS)
- Roanoke Times reporting on RCPD Mental Health Project
- Roanoke Times reporting on benefits of RCPD Mental Health Project
- George Mason University news coverage of GMU-RCPD partnership