Research Into Current State of Policing

TAMPA, Fla. (March 10, 2009) –  University of South Florida criminology professor Lorie Fridell is part of a team funded by the National Institute of Justice to evaluate the current state of American policing.  NIJ awarded $1.8 million to the University of Illinois at Chicago for the project, and USF and Northeastern University are the two major university partners.  Approximately 25 law enforcement agencies in Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles are among the main jurisdictions that have agreed to participate in the study.


The researchers plan to develop and field-test a new system called the National Police Research Platform, which will analyze police activities and advance new evidence-based practices that can be used throughout the United States.


“Research on policing over the years has been piecemeal — advancing our knowledge very slowly and incrementally,” Fridell said.  “This platform provides the opportunity to advance our knowledge exponentially, by ultimately involving a large number of agencies collecting comparable data over long periods of time.  This will allow us to answer many important questions regarding policing that we have not been able to answer with the traditional approach.”


Fridell, an associate professor in the USF Department of Criminology, will work with a team of top researchers from around the country, led by Dennis Rosenbaum, UIC professor of criminology, law, and justice.  According to UIC, the goal is to determine what contributes to success or "good policing" among individual officers, supervisors and organizations.


"The study should yield a deeper understanding of the life and work of police officers and police supervisors in the United States," said Rosenbaum, one of the principal investigators on the project.


Advancing the theory on policing is not the only benefit of the three-year project, Rosenbaum said. 


"We believe that this research will have very practical implications for the management of police organizations, as well as for the health and welfare of individual police officers and community members," he said.


A component of the study with the Chicago Police Department will develop and evaluate innovative recruit training that aims for more effective police work and improved relationships with the community.


“One important aspect of the project is to study the ‘life course’ of police professionals,” said Fridell.   “The team will survey newly-hired police officers and new sergeants in agencies across the country.  The objective is to follow these employees over a number of years.  One of the most exciting aspects of this project is that in the not-so-distant future, our findings will be shared and used throughout the country.”


Fridell has more than 20 years of experience conducting research on law enforcement.  Her primary research areas are police use of force and violence against police and recently served on the Independent Review Commission on the Hillsborough County Jails.   She also writes, consults and trains in the area of racially-biased policing.  In addition to articles and chapters on these and other topics, she has authored, co-authored or edited:  Police Use of Force: Official Reports, Citizen Complaints and Legal Consequences; Police Vehicles and Firearms: Instruments of Deadly Force; Chief Concerns:  Exploring the Challenges of Police Use of Force; Community Policing: Past, Present and Future; Racially Biased Policing: A Principled Response; and By the Numbers: A Guide for Analyzing Race Data From Vehicle Stops.   Prior to joining USF in August of 2005, she served for six years as the Director of Research at the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). 


 The National Institute of Justice is the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice and is dedicated to researching crime control and justice issues.  For more information, visit


The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.