Embedded Criminologists in Police Departments

Embedded Criminologists in Police Departments


Police Foundation


Anthony Braga

Past partnerships between academics and police practitioners have sometimes been characterized by role conflicts, such as researchers reporting the “bad news” that an evaluated program was not effective in preventing crime (Weisburd 1994). For academic researchers, success or failure mattered less than commitment to the development of knowledge on what does or does not work in preventing crime. For the police, this news could be interpreted as their personal failure, and the skepticism of academics may be viewed as irritating. In recent years, partnerships between police and academics have become much more collaborative and focused on working together in addressing crime (IACP 2004; Rojek et al. 2012). Academics have much to offer to police departments. In addition to providing training in analytic methods and concepts and developing a body of police science literature, academics can conduct problem analyses and high-quality research evaluations in partnership with police departments. Police departments should position themselves to support research initiatives with well-functioning internal crime analysis and research units, as collaborations with outside researchers can be quite potent and should be encouraged.

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