Police Innovation: Enhancing Research and Analysis Capacity through Smart Policing

Police Innovation: Enhancing Research and Analysis Capacity through Smart Policing


Arizona State University


Chelsie Martin-Roethele

There has been a tremendous amount of innovation in policing over the last 40 years, from community and problem-oriented policing to hot spots and intelligence-led policing. Many of these innovations have been subjected to empirical testing, with mixed results on effectiveness. The latest innovation in policing is the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Smart Policing Initiative (2009). Created in 2009, the SPI provides funding to law enforcement agencies to develop and test evidence-based practices to address crime and disorder. Researchers have not yet tested the impact of the SPI on the funded agencies, particularly with regard to core principles of the Initiative. The most notable of these is the collaboration between law enforcement agencies and their research partners. The current study surveyed SPI agencies and their research partners on key aspects of their Initiative. The current study uses mean score comparisons and qualitative responses to evaluate this partnership to determine the extent of its value and effect. It also seeks to determine the areas of police agency crime analysis and research units that are most in need of enhancement. Findings indicate that the research partners are actively involved in a range of aspects involved in problem solving under the Smart Policing Initiative, and that they have positively influenced police agencies’ research and crime analysis functions, and to a lesser extent, have positively impacted police agencies’ tactical operations. Additionally, personnel, technology, and training were found to be the main areas of the crime analysis and research units that still need to be enhanced. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the implications of these findings for police policy and practice.

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