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The goal “is to provide a path for law enforcement and researchers to work together on evidence-based research studies that will drive future practices and policies,” said IACP President Terrence M. Cunningham. (Elliot Spagat/The Associated Press)

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), University of Cincinnati (UC), and Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) today announced the creation of the IACP/UC Center for Police Research and Policy. The Center, funded by a $3.3 million grant from LJAF, will engage in rigorous research that has practical implications for the field and is intended to serve as a national model for the way law enforcement agencies and researchers work together to help protect communities, safeguard citizens’ rights, and ensure the fair treatment of all individuals.

“The goal of the IACP/UC Center for Police Research and Policy is to provide a path for law enforcement and researchers to work together on evidence-based research studies that will drive future practices and policies,” said IACP President Terrence M. Cunningham, Chief of the Wellesley, Massachusetts, Police Department. “Academic researchers often don’t have access to data police departments collect. Additionally, research does not provide actionable recommendations that can be easily translated into specific policies and practices that could enhance policing.”

Led by Robin S. Engel, Ph.D., UC’s Vice President for Safety and Reform, the Center will have staff at both UC and the IACP headquarters in Alexandria, Va. The Center will build an experienced, credentialed team to rigorously evaluate policing practices in order to identify those that are effective and fair, and will facilitate the exchange of data and research between the policing community and academia.

“The IACP/UC Center for Police Research and Policy will bring high-caliber academic researchers and police practitioners together to conduct cutting-edge research and share findings with law enforcement leaders around the world,” said Robin Engel. “This innovative collaboration will enable us to develop evidence-based policies and practices that are focused on addressing critical policing issues, creating a ground-breaking model for police-academic partnerships.”

“The Laura and John Arnold Foundation is excited to fund this innovative partnership between the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the University of Cincinnati. We believe that the IACP/UC Center for Police Research and Policy has the potential to transform contemporary policing by helping to create a dynamic two-way collaboration between research and practice that is unprecedented in the field,” LJAF Vice President of Criminal Justice Matt Alsdorf explained. “This partnership has the potential to address some of policing’s most pressing and persistent challenges with an evidence-based approach that is academically tested and practical.”

During the first three years of operation, the IACP/UC Center for Police Research and Policy will:

  • Create and disseminate a national policy for conducting police research and police/researcher collaborations
  • Launch at least three research projects, such as randomized controlled trials, targeting urgent policing issues
  • Translate research reports written for an academic audience into sets of actionable items that practitioners can easily implement

The University of Cincinnati will provide state-of-the art facilities to host trainings, convene workshops, and offer hands-on learning opportunities as it models police-academic partnerships in action and disseminates findings through e-learning modules.