Research Looks to Examine Police-Community Relations
Galloway, N.J. – Police-community relations remain at the forefront of important discussions, news headlines and research. Stockton has partnered with local police departments through a U.S. Department of Justice $702,956 grant, and data is now being collected to examine and raise awareness about this topic.
The EPJETS project (Enhancing Procedural-Justness of Encounters Through Substantiation) is an initiative with the University and the Atlantic City and Pleasantville police departments that will assess whether releasing body-worn camera footage of police-citizen interactions, using procedural justice script, and providing citizens with evidence of why agencies conduct traffic stops at certain locations (identified through Risk-Terrain Modeling) improve police-community relations and affect citizens' attitudes toward police.
The data started being collected in October 2022, and since then, there have been a total of 250 random traffic stops.
"What is unique about this program is we are sharing the interaction footage with the people who are stopped," said Stockton Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Nusret Sahin, the lead investigator on the project.
Stopped drivers are given a code, and through customized software for this project, they can then view their interaction with the officer that pulled them over.
Additionally, crash locations are being analyzed in both Pleasantville and Atlantic City, and a crash brochure is also provided to these drivers.
So, if this is a protocol that works and meets citizens' expectations, then the ultimate goal could be for more agencies to adopt this method and use it in regular traffic stops. It may reduce the number of use-of-force incidents and increase citizen satisfaction.
The project's research team includes Sahin; and co-principal investigators Manish Madan, associate professor of Criminal Justice at Stockton; Joe Caplan, professor at the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice; and Rob Voigt, assistant professor of Linguistics at Northwestern University.
The ongoing research should be completed in the Spring of 2024.
Reported by Mandee McCullough