Police

Enhancing Public Safety

Officer safety is one of the most important issues that law enforcement agencies face. By improving officer safety, law enforcement agencies can attract higher quality officers. The overwhelming majority of officers that are killed or injured on the job result from domestic violence calls for service. Although this is often known after the fact, determining this information prior to the arrival of an officer could offer opportunities for law enforcement to enhance their safety.

Working directly with administrative records from law enforcement agencies and established working relationships, we will develop algorithms that generate a risk score for law enforcement agents responding to calls for service. We will then utilize a randomized controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of the officer safety tool in reducing officer involved deaths and injuries.

Peer effects in labor productivity, education and social interactions have been well-established. Police engage with numerous peers throughout their career, starting with their initial training. Working with a number of law enforcement agencies, this project aims to unearth the impact of law enforcement peer interactions on the quality of policing. Specifically, we examine how different peer interactions during the training process impacts downstream policing conduct, such as violent interactions that include officer involved shootings.

Peer Effects in Law Enforcement

Police Response Time and Severity

While it is commonly believed that minimizing police response time when calls for service are received, the majority of research finds no impact of response time on outcomes. However, this result likely arises due to police prioritizing situations that are most severe. Using highly disaggregated geo-temporal data on police, we make use of the as-if random allocation of law enforcement when calls for service are received to examine the impact of police response time on the severity of outcomes, noting that shorter police response times significantly reduce the severity of the outcome for major disturbance calls for service.

Sheriffs are one of the main law enforcement agents in charge of public safety within a county. Interestingly, sheriffs are one of the only law enforcement positions that is filled via popular election. In this project, we examine the impact of term limits and sheriff elections the public safety. We control for strategic behaviors arising due to the election concern and investigate the pure effect of work experience of sheriffs on reported crime and clearance rates. Our causal estimates identify increases in reported crime and clearance rates with increases in experience.

The Impact of Term Limits and Sheriff Elections on Public Safety