American Society of Criminology - 2022 Meeting

American Society of Criminology - 2022 Meeting

Atlanta, GA

Here’s a list of everything I’ll be involved in at this year’s ASC Conference. Where possible, I’ll circle back and upload slides for the presentations.

Wednesday, 1116

8:00 AM - International 9

Authors Meet Critics: Police-Community Relations in Times of Crisis: Decay and Reform in the Post-Ferguson Era

  • Authors: Ross Deuchar, Vaughn Crichlow, Seth Fallik
  • Critics: David Pyrooz, Ken Novak, me

Thursday, 1117

2:00 PM - International 9

Author Meets Critics: Policing Unrest: On the Front Lines of the Ferguson Protests

  • Author: Tammy Kochel
  • Critics: Jacinta Gau, Robert Brown, me

Friday, 1118

8:00 AM - L503

Revisiting “Cold” Sexual Assault Cases: The National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative

The Victim-Survivor Notification Process and Experience from Practitioners and Survivors

  • w/Caralin Branscum, Tara Richards, Emily Wright, and Brad Campbell
  • ABSTRACT: Though there have been numerous sexual assault kit initiative (SAKI) project sites across the country, there has been little attention regarding the experiences of victim advocates and victim-survivors regarding the victim notification process. The Minnesota SAKI project identified 80 sexual assault cases where active victim notification was appropriate. Data sources include descriptive information on actively notified cases, victim advocate case notes from notifications, and semi-structured interviews with both victim advocates involved in victim notifications and victim-survivors regarding their experiences with and impacts of the notification process. Preliminary analyses reveal the landscape of the victim notification process, including the number of attempts, the variety of methods used to contact victim-survivors, and the impacts of notifications on both victim advocates and victim-survivors. Findings reveal the exhaustive work victim advocates engage in to successfully contact victim-survivors as well as the impacts of notification on victim-survivors (e.g., empowerment, the likelihood of future use of the system). Implications regarding the victim notification process in SAKI projects and recommendations for improvement will be discussed.

Assessing the Feasibility and Impact of Using the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program in Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Projects

  • w/Tara Richards, Michaela Goldsmith, Emily Wright, Brad Campbell, and Scott Mourtgos
  • ABSTRACT: In 2018 new federal Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) requirements dictated the submission of appropriate cases from SAKI projects to the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP). ViCAP was originally established in 1985 to aide coordination and collaboration across law enforcement agencies in the investigation of violent crimes – primarily serial homicides and sexual assaults. The ViCAP database provides a repository of behavioral and investigative information of violent crimes for participating agencies across the country (Office of Justice Programs, 2018). Discussions on the importance of ViCAP and continued cross-agency communication in the investigation of sexual assault cases are prevalent, but previous research on the usefulness of ViCAP in criminal investigations has largely focused on serial homicides, not sexual assaults (Howlett et al., 1986). Comparatively, little research has investigated the utility of ViCAP for SAKI project stakeholders or the impact of using ViCAP on investigation outcomes for sexual assault cases. We will discuss findings from an examination of case level data from the Minnesota SAKI project regarding case submissions to ViCAP and impacts on case outcomes. We will also present common themes from interviews of SAKI personnel on the viability and usefulness of ViCAP for investigating sexual assault cases.

9:30 AM - L507

Police Culture and Deviance II

  • Discussant

2:00 PM - L508

Current Issues in Policing and Advances in Policing Research

Forming Suspicion during Traffic Stops: Results from an Experimental Survey of Patrol Officers

  • w/Kyle McLean, Seth Stoughton, Ian Adams, and Geoff Alpert
  • ABSTRACT: To better understand both how police officers form suspicion and how they make decisions about acting on their suspicions, we conducted a survey experiment with officers from eight different states. Officers read vignettes regarding a traffic stop based on appellate case law. The details of the traffic stop that the courts stated were required to form reasonable suspicion were randomly manipulated (either present or removed). Officers were then asked whether the facts gave rise to “reasonable suspicion” of criminal behavior, and if so, whether the officer would take specific further actions. The surveys are in the field as of March 2022. Results will be shared during the presentation. Results will provide much-needed empirical information about how officers operationally define reasonable suspicion and the factors they rely on to develop it in the field.

Screening for Insider Threats in U.S. Law Enforcement: A Survey of Agency Policies and Practices

  • w/Erin Kearns, Sadaf Hashimi, and Jessie Huff
  • ABSTRACT: The study aims to better understand current policies and procedures used to screen for and identify insider threats in the law enforcement hiring process and among active officers. Specifically, we are interested in a) how law enforcement agencies currently conduct background screenings to identify potential insider threats during and after the hiring process, b) what information law enforcement agencies around the country ask as part of their hiring and screening processes, and c) what policies and procedures currently exist to mitigate risks from insider threats across U.S law enforcement departments. With a stratified random sample of 4,000 local police and sheriff’s departments, we use a survey design to ask about agency hiring and screening policies and procedures. Surveys will be fielded in April 2022 and findings will be presented at the conference. Findings will shed light on the law enforcement hiring process, which is an understudied aspect of policing though also one that potentially opens agencies up to insider threats.

3:30 PM - L508

Violence in Policing in the United States and Canada (Organized by the Division of Policing)

Under Fire: Officer-Involved Shootings in Canada, 2017-2019

  • w/Rylan Simpson
  • ABSTRACT: Acts of police violence generate tremendous attention and scrutiny. The most extreme of such acts are officer-involved shootings, which can result in injury and/or death to civilians. We empirically explore such shootings in Canada from 2017-2019. Drawing upon publicly-available information, we first attempt to identify officer-involved shootings using a systematic search strategy. Once identified, we then code each shooting for a plethora of different variables, including incident location, characteristics, and context. At the time of submission, efforts to generate our dataset are still in-progress. Early results suggest that there are patterns in officer-involved shootings across time and location, which we will continue to explore as data collection continues. Little remains known about officer-involved shootings in Canada. As part of our research, we explore these events during a multi-year period. We discuss our findings in light of their scholarly and practical implications.

The “War on Cops” and the Murder of George Floyd

  • w/Michael Sierra-Arévalo and Scott Mourtgos
  • ABSTRACT: To assess renewed claims that retaliatory violence against officers has made policing more dangerous in the wake of the George Floyd murder. Using data collected by the Gun Violence Archive on firearm assaults of U.S. police officers, we first descriptively assess trends in gun violence directed at officers between 2014 and 2020. Second, we use Bayesian structural time series (BSTS) modeling to examine how patterns of firearm assault on U.S. police officers were influenced by the police murder of George Floyd. Our descriptive analysis finds little evidence of a sharp or sustained increase in firearm assaults of police since 2014. Our BSTS analysis finds that the murder of George Floyd was associated with a 3-week spike in firearm assaults on police, after which the trend in firearms assaults dropped to levels only slightly above that which were predicted by pre-Floyd data. We discuss potential explanations for these patterns and the implications of our findings for ongoing discussion of the “war on cops,” officer safety, and violence.
Justin Nix
Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice

My research interests include police legitimacy, procedural justice, and officer-involved shootings.