Renée Mitchell

Inducted June 2014

Nominated by Cynthia Lum, George Mason University and Cody Telep, Arizona State University


Renée J. Mitchell has served in the Sacramento Police Department for sixteen years and is currently a Police Sergeant. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of California, Davis, a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from the University of San Francisco, a Master of Business Administration from the California State University, Sacramento, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, where she was awarded an academic scholarship. She was the 2009/2010 Fulbright Police Research Fellow where she attended the University of Cambridge Police Executive Program and completed research in the area of juvenile gang violence at the London Metropolitan Police Service. She is a Police Foundation Fellow.

Evidence-Based Research and Practice:

Sgt. Mitchell is well known for her design and implementation of a randomized field trial on hot spots policing in the Sacramento Police Department in early 2011 this trial was awarded the 2012 International Association of Chiefs of Police Sprint Excellence in Law Enforcement Research Silver Award. The results indicated that hot spots patrol using the Koper Curve principle could achieve significant overall declines in both calls for service and serious crime incidents in the treatment hot spots relative to the controls. Importantly, the study was carried out by the Sacramento Police Department without any outside funding and through a collaborative partnership with George Mason University policing scholars. Along with her colleagues in the Crime Analysis Unit, she helped identify appropriate hot spots for the intervention, design treatment protocols, and oversee the implementation of the 90 day trial. Her dedication to the study helped ensure that the intervention was delivered with fidelity and contributed to the overall crime control benefits found in the treatment group hot spots.

Sgt. Mitchell has shown a long-standing commitment to making her agency more evidence-based in her various assignments in the Sacramento Police Department including patrol, investigations, recruiting, school resource officers, and crime analysis. She worked to create innovative programs in the Sacramento Police Department including C.A.S.H. (Community Against Sexual Harm), the female fitness challenge, the community recruiter program and a charter school modeled around the theme of police, fire and legislature to further the department’s recruiting efforts. She has taught required in-service courses that stressed the importance of crime analysis and evidence-based policing. During this course, Sgt. Mitchell administered the Lum-Telep receptivity survey to assess police officer receptivity to evidence-based policing and research. The Sacramento Police Department was the first agency to use the survey, and the results from Sacramento and other agencies will provide valuable insight into understanding how to make evidence-based policing more of a reality in the field.

Sgt. Mitchell has become a well-known advocate for evidence-based crime policy and has spoken at various major policing functions, including at IACP, the CEBCP’s symposia and special workshops, the International Evidence-Based Policing Conferences at the University of Cambridge, and TEDxOxbridge. She has been instrumental in training other police leaders on how to do research within police agencies, and has been a strong advocate for the institutionalization of research in police practice.

Contributions to Grants, Publications, and Projects:

  • Telep, C.W., Mitchell, R.J., & Weisburd, D. How much time should the police spend at crime hot spots?: Answers from a police agency directed randomized field trial in Sacramento, California. Justice Quarterly. doi: 10.1080/07418825.2012.710645
  • Hot Spots Policing Experiment in Sacramento, CA