Annual Conference Helps Translate Policing Research into Practice

Posted: April 16, 2013 at 5:00 am, Last Updated: April 17, 2013 at 6:45 am

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By Catherine Probst

Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy (CEBCP) Executive Director David Weisburd (R) and co-Director Cynthia Lum (L) congratulate Robinson Professor and Distinguished Achievement Award in Evidence-Based Crime Policy Awardee Laurie Robinson at the 2013 CEBCP-SIPR Joint Symposium and Congressional Briefing on Evidence-Based Policing at the Arlington campus. Photo by Alexis Glenn/Creative Services/George Mason University

Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy (CEBCP) Executive Director David Weisburd, right. and Co-Director Cynthia Lum, left, congratulate Robinson Professor and Distinguished Achievement Award in Evidence-Based Crime Policy Awardee Laurie Robinson at the 2013 CEBCP-SIPR Joint Symposium and Congressional Briefing. Photo by Alexis Glenn

George Mason University’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy (CEBCP) and the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) hosted a joint Symposium and Congressional Briefing on Evidence-Based Policing on George Mason’s Arlington Campus on April 8 and at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., on April 9.

Furthering the missions of CEBCP and SIPR, the two-day conference addressed the numerous opportunities and challenges facing policing and the importance of research in making informed decisions about crime and justice policies.

More than 250 university administrators, law enforcement personnel, researchers and other government officials from more than 115 organizations, universities, and government agencies throughout the world attended.

“The joint symposium and congressional briefing provide an excellent opportunity to come together with our colleagues from Scotland and the U.S. to discuss some of the pressing issues in policing today,” says Cynthia Lum, associate professor of criminology, law and society and director of the CEBCP. “More importantly, the conference allows us to develop strategies with practitioners to apply the research we have conducted into current policing practices.”

The Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy (CEBCP) hosts the 2013 CEBCP-SIPR Joint Symposium and Congressional Briefing on Evidence-Based Policing at the Arlington campus. Photo by Alexis Glenn/Creative Services/George Mason University

The  audience at the 2013 CEBCP-SIPR Joint Symposium and Congressional Briefing at the Arlington Campus. Photo by Alexis Glenn

The first day’s symposium on “Translating Police Research to Practice: Perspectives from Police-Research Partnerships included several panel discussions that focused on topics such as using research, analysis and performance measures in policing rural and suburban places; best practices for policing in vulnerable populations involving missing persons, mentally ill and the homeless; establishing community partnerships in policing; and improving research and practice for police legitimacy.

Sandra Nutley, professor of public policy and management at St. Andrews University, opened the conference with a discussion on evidence utilization. Panelists included members of the Scottish Policing Service, police officials from the Evidence-Based Policing Hall of Fame and researchers from universities across the U.S. and Scotland.

On the second day, conference participants went to the U.S. Capitol for a congressional briefing on “Moving Beyond Arrest: Research on Policing and Young People.” Discussions focused on police encounters with youth and how to define and address the challenges that accompany these interactions.

As part of the conference, the CEBCP Distinguished Achievement Award in Evidence-Based Crime Policy was presented to Laurie Robinson, Robinson Professor of Criminology, Law and Society at Mason, and Lawrence Sherman, Wolfson Professor of Criminology at the University of Cambridge and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland. The award recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions by individuals in academia, practice or the policy arena who are committed to a leadership role in advancing the use of scientific research evidence in decisions about crime and justice policies.

James Burch, deputy assistant attorney general of the United States, inducted two other individuals into the Evidence-Based Policing Hall of Fame: Lt. Col. James Whalen of the Cincinnati Police Department and Gen. Jose Robert León, head of the Colombian National Police. The Hall of Fame is the only award in the United States to recognize the research contributions of police leaders and their commitment to institutionalizing evidence-based policing into practice.

“We are very pleased to have this opportunity to come together with our colleagues at George Mason University, as well as those from organizations throughout the world, to share knowledge and exchange ideas to strengthen the evidence base on which policing policy and practice are developed,” says Nicholas Fyfe, SIPR director and professor of human geography at the University of Dundee.

“We will use this information to further our efforts to conduct necessary and relevant research to policing in Scotland and look forward to building a longer term relationship with policing scholars at George Mason.”

The CEBCP, housed within Mason’s Department of Criminology, Law and Society, seeks to make scientific research a key component in decisions about crime and justice policies. The center carries out this mission by advancing rigorous studies in criminal justice and criminology through research-practice collaborations, and proactively serving as an informational and translational link to practitioners and the policy community

The SIPR is a strategic collaboration between 12 of Scotland’s universities and the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland that offers a range of opportunities for conducting relevant, applicable research to help the police meet the challenges of the 21st century and for achieving international excellence for policing research in Scotland.

Write to Colleen Kearney Rich at ckearney@gmu.edu

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