Loren Atherley

Inducted June 2022

Nominated by Matthew Hickman, Seattle University


Loren T. Atherley is the Director of Performance Analytics & Research (PA&R) and Senior Research Scientist for the Seattle Police Department (SPD), where he has served since 2013. The PA&R Section is a continuation of the department’s internal performance, evaluation and advanced research methods capabilities, developed to demonstrate compliance with a federal Consent Decree. Mr. Atherley leads a regional research consortium, a national data working group on Analytics & Evidence-Based Policing, and an international research network. In addition, he consults across the criminal justice and data sciences, including statistics and research methods, threat assessment / threat management and violent / aggressive / psychopathic behavior, providing strategic advice to the Chief of Police and the City of Seattle, as well as other local, state and federal agencies. Atherley also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice at Seattle University and is a National Institute of Justice LEADS Scholar. He holds a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice from Seattle University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Criminology from the University of Cambridge.

Evidence-Based Research and Practice:

Director Atherley's efforts have been integral in pushing the boundaries of policing and evidence-based policing in the Seattle Police Department. He has worked with researchers from several universities and centers, including the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy. In addition, he is nationally known for his steady commitment to tracking, testing, evaluating, and implementing research-based practices in his agency and the field of policing more generally.

Professor Matthew Hickman, chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, Criminology, & Forensics of Seattle University, has been a long-time collaborator with Mr. Atherley on several important projects to the policing field. Early collaborations included a national study of peace officer certification practices, conducted on behalf of the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST), and a research project examining the use of force and its geographic distribution by the police in Seattle. In his nomination of Atherley, Professor Hickman noted that the use of force project was particularly important. "Not only did it yield academic products," noted Hickman, "but the project also helped to inform decisions about the data elements to be captured in the SPD’s new Data Analytics Platform (DAP), which was part of a suite of reforms emerging from a consent decree process in which Atherley played a key organizational role." Atherley has also worked on Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) evaluations at SPD and broader CIT and guardian-oriented training delivered at Washington’s state training academy.

More recently, Atherley has been working with Hickman on a project to understand the problem of over-policing. The project uses Automatic Vehicle Locator data from SPD to examine physical police presence in relation to citizen demands for service, police strategy, and community preference. He is also partnering with George Mason University professors Cynthia Lum and Christopher Koper on a randomized controlled experiment testing new methods for improving investigative outcomes and victim satisfaction in difficult robbery and burglary investigations. Lum notes that “Loren has been central to implementing this very challenging project. Not only did he spearhead the randomization process and implementation of the intervention, but he is a consummate problem-solver about the many challenges that we have faced in an era of declining resources, internal policing crises, and COVID.”

As the Director of SPD’s Performance Analytics & Research, Mr. Atherley oversees the agency’s data warehousing and research programs. However, he has also developed research-practice networks through his position. For example, Atherley set up an academic network grounded in data transparency and sharing to encourage researchers to engage with the SPD on new evaluations and studies. He has worked with over 50 researchers from various disciplines to execute data-sharing agreements to support projects of mutual interest. Because of his efforts, these endeavors ensure that SPD stays on the cutting-edge of building the evidence-base in policing. Seattle has also become an early adopter of promising practices, training methods, and decision-making tools.

Prof. Hickman commends Loren as "an individual with a deep understanding of and respect for the value of science-based approaches in policing. He is the driving force behind SPD’s research and analysis program. We need more people like him in the policing world.” Lum also praises Atherley: "He is one of those exceptional individuals who is a rare gem in the policing world. Like other analysts in the Evidence-Based Policing Hall of Fame, he has a particular je ne sais quoi. These analysts are the translators and the institutionalization mechanisms that make up the organizational infrastructure necessary for evidence-based policing. Their daily (and often unseen) efforts are to be celebrated, especially in a field that tends to be resistant to change or new ideas.”

Contributions to Grants, Publications, and Projects:

  • Lum and Koper National Institute of Justice Experiment on Robbery Follow-ups
  • Atherley, L.T., Hickman, M.J., Parkin, W.S., Helfgott, J.B., (2021). Measurement of potential over- and under-policing in communities. Policing: A Journal of Policy & Practice, DOI: 10.1093/police/paac025.
  • Boatright, R., Fisher, C., & Atherley, L. (2021). Lessons Learned from a Decade of Reform and a Season of Protest: An Enterprise Risk Management Approach to Officer Wellness & Early Intervention. Criminology, Criminal Justice, Law & Society, 22(2), 50-59.
  • Atherley, L.T., (2020). Operationalizing Research or: how I learned to stop worrying and love the consent decree. Translational Criminology Magazine, Fall 2020. 
  • Helfgott, J.B., Strah, B.M., Atherley, L., & Neidhart, E. (2020). Evaluation of CIT Components of Guardian Law Enforcement Training. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 1-20.
  • Helfgott, J.B., Strah, B.M., Pollack, J., Atherley, L.T., Vinson, J., (2018), A Qualitative Approach to Understanding Warrior Versus Guardian Models of Policing. Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice & Criminology, 6(1),  DOI: 10.21428/88de04a1.ac7b66fa.
  • Helfgott, J.B., Atherley, L.T., Pollock, J., Vinson, J., Con-Johnson, C., Strah, B., Neidhart, E., Hickman, M. J., Wood, N., (2015). Evaluation of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission’s “Warriors to Guardians” Cultural Shift and Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training. (Report No. 1).
  • Atherley, L.T., & Hickman, M. J. (2014). Controlling use of force: Identifying police use of excessive force through analysis of administrative records. Policing, 8(2), 123-134.
  • Atherley, L.T., & Hickman, M. J. (2013). Officer decertification and the national decertification index. Police Quarterly, 1098611113489889.
  • Atherley, L.T., (2013). Profiling Ridgway: A Retrospective Analysis of Criminal Profiling Through the Green River Killer Investigation, In Helfgott, J. B. (Ed.). (2013). Criminal Psychology. ABC-CLIO.