PRG Current Projects

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Dr. Stephen Mastrofski:

Police Procedural Justice: A View at the Street Level. Based on systematic observations of police patrol officers interactions with the public, this Center for Justice Leadership & Management study will provide the first comprehensive attempt to measure the extent to which police officers engage in practices thought to promote a sense of procedural justice among members of the public. The project considers the measurement properties of various aspects of procedural justice and reflects on its implications. It also assesses the interaction conditions that promote or inhibit procedural justice and the impact of procedural justice on citizen cooperation and compliance. Participants: Tal Jonathan-Zamir (Hebrew University), Stephen Mastrofski, James Willis, Lauren Revier, Luke Dillon, and Shomron Moyal (Hebrew University).

The Culture of Police Work. Based on a survey of officers in two police departments, this Center for Justice Leadership & Management study measures the views of police of all ranks about what practices and officer skills distinguish good police work. The extent to which the traditional police craft perspective has been supplanted by recent reforms (community policing, problem-oriented policing, and evidence-based policing) are considered. Participants: Stephen Mastrofski, James Willis, Lauren Review, and Luke Dillon.

Trinidad and Tobago Police Services Project. Over the last decade Trinidad and Tobago, a small, Caribbean island republic off the cost of Venezuela, has experienced skyrocketing violent crime and low public trust and confidence in the police. The Center for Justice Leadership and Management was contracted to assist the T&T government in transforming the police into a more effective police agency that deserves the confidence of the public. This project was conducted on site in Trinidad and Tobago 2004-2010. That phase of the project focused on providing technical assistance to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) and the Ministry of National Security, which included recommendations on constitutional reform and organizational change, the provision of training and on-site advisors, and implementation and outcome evaluations. Following the technical assistance phase, project researchers are publishing articles for practitioners and scholars on lessons learned from the experience. Participants: Stephen Mastrofski, Roger Parks (Indiana University), David Wilson, Cynthia Lum, and Tammy Kochel (Southern Illinois University-Carbondale).


Kochel, Tammy, Roger B. Parks, and Stephen D. Mastrofski. 2012. “Examining Police Effectiveness as Precursor to Legitimacy and Cooperation with Police.” Justice Quarterly. DOI:10.1080/07418825.2011.633544

Wilson, David B., Roger B. Parks, and Stephen D. Mastrofski. 2011. “The Impact of Police Reform on Communities of Trinidad and Tobago.” Journal of Experimental Criminology 7(4):375-405. (DOI) 10.1007/s11292-011-9131-y.

Mastrofski, Stephen D. and Cynthia. Lum. 2008. “Meeting the Challenges of Police Governance in Trinidad and Tobago.” Policing A Journal of Policy and Practice 2(4): 481-496. doi: 10.1093/police/pan051.

The Effects of Race on Police Decisionmaking. This project, conducted jointly with Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, performs systematic reviews of empirical research that attempts to assess the impact of a citizen’s race on how he or she is treated by the police. The first study in this series found a significant race effect in the available studies, minority suspects having on average a substantially higher risk of being arrested when encountered by the police. A currently ongoing study is conducting a similar analysis for the effects of race on police use of force. Participants: Tammy Kochel (Southern Illinois University-Carbondale), David Wilson, and Stephen Mastrofski.


Kochel, Tammy R., David B. Wilson, and Stephen D. Mastrofski. 2011. “The Effect of Suspect Race on Police Officers’ Arrest Decisions.” Criminology 49(2):473-512.

Dr. David Weisburd

Improving Policing in the City of Seattle: On May 2 and 3, 2011, the City of Seattle and George Mason Researchers collaborated on a series of discussions about evidence-based approaches to crime reduction. Click here to see the presentations, notes, and related links from the discussions. Seattle’s Office of City Auditor also issued a report “Addressing Crime and Disorder in Seattle’s “Hot Spots”: What Works?” based in part on research by myself and colleagues on crime at place in Seattle. At present, we are working with the Seattle Police Department and the Office of City Auditor on efforts to better inform police and city agencies about what the evidence suggests about the effectiveness of policing efforts to reduce crime and disorder (with Charlotte Gill, Cynthia Lum, and Cody Telep).

iPhone Applications for Policing in Redlands, California: Advances in technology, such as smartphones and other mobile devices, provide new opportunities for data-driven law enforcement. Charlotte Gill and I are collaborating with the Redlands, CA Police Department (RPD) and the Omega Group to develop and test an iPhone application that allows police officers to access and record data on hot spots, crime incidents, and people while out on patrol. The research team is also surveying officers and civilians to understand their technological capabilities and needs, and will evaluate the prototype app in a randomized controlled field experiment. This project is funded by the National Institute of Justice (with Charlotte Gill, Travis Taniguchi, and Zoe Vitter).

Stop, Question, and Frisk Analysis in New York City: The New York City Police Department’s controversial stop, question, and frisk (SQF) policy is closely examined in this study. Much of the research currently in existence focuses on the racial and legal (4th Amendment) issues surrounding SQF. This project however seeks to respond to another aspect of SQF: whether the approach is targeted or more diffuse in its focus. In order to assess this question, a geographic analysis of crime incidents in New York City is coupled with an examination of stop encounters. The time frame of assessment for the SQF data and crime data spans from 2008 to 2010. Key Questions for our study include: Are SQFs concentrated at “hot spots”? Are those hot spots overlapping with crime hot spots in the city? We will also examine whether the approach seems to have crime prevention outcomes (with Brian Lawton and Cody Telep).

Exploring Developmental Patterns of Crime at Place: What contributes to variations of crime patterns across micro-places? The existence of concentrations of crime events across both space and time has been empirically demonstrated and exists even as the geographic scale of analysis changes. However, the specific factors associated with this variation across places are less well-known. This study draws from both opportunity theory and social disorganization to examine the factors associated with micro level crime rates across both space and time. The spatio-temporal variation of a variety of environmental, social, and economic factors is analyzed. Specifically, the research describes micro level variation among the individual street blocks in Seattle, Washington over a 16 year time period. While the study is not focused on police responses to crime per se, the results have important implications for how police address crime across the city, particularly on chronic hot spot street segments (with Elizabeth Groff and Sue-Ming Yang).

Dr. James Willis

The Co-Implementation of Two Police Reforms: Along with some colleagues I have recently completed a COPS-funded project examining how Compstat and community policing, two recent and highly-touted reforms, work together when implemented in the same police department. The question we asked is whether these reforms work together, at cross-purposes, or independently. Based on findings from a national survey and seven intensive site visits, we suggested they were stove-piped — each operating in ways that had very little effect on the other. Based on this, we made some recommendations for how they might be integrated to maximize the benefits of co-implementation.
Participants: Stephen Mastrofski, Tammy Rinehart Kochel

Publications include:

Willis, James J., T.R. Kochel, S.D. Mastrofski. The Co-Implementation of Compstat and Community Policing: A National Assessment. 2010. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services. (89 pages)

Willis, James J., S.D. Mastrofski and T.R. Kochel (2010) Maximizing the Benefits of Reform: Integrating Compstat and Community Policing in America. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services. ISBN: 978-1-935676-03-4. (51 pp.)

The Culture of Police Work: The purpose of this Center for Justice Leadership and Management project is to learn insights about the nature and quality of patrol work from those who do it themselves. In-depth interviews with patrol officers from two police agencies are used to learn what, if anything, distinguishes the outlooks, methods, and abilities of those officers identified by their peers as especially skilled at patrol work from others in patrol.
Participants: Stephen Mastrofski, Lauren Revier, Luke Dillon, Jillian Baird, Terri Hines

The Impacts of Police Technology: The purpose of this NIJ-funded research study is to learn about how technology shapes police organizations, culture, and practice. It involves interviews, observations, and focus groups at four police departments and examines a range of technologies, including DNA analysis, License-Plate Readers, Records Management Systems, and crime analysis. We are particularly interested in learning what might account for patterns or variations in: (a) how different police departments interpret and implement technologies; and (b) how different groups within the same organization interact with new technologies.

Participants: Christopher Koper, Cynthia Lum, and Julie Hibdon Willis