GAO Report Cites Need for Better Police Use-of-Force Data

The Government Accountability Office has released a report assessing the release of data from the Department of Justice (DOJ) related to law enforcement use of force. Overall, the report finds that the Department has not been consistently publishing legally required data on excessive force and that DOJ can do a better job of sharing this information. The report makes note of delays in the release of data produced by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), an issue not limited to use-of-force data (COSSA has written several letters advocating for the timely release of BJS data).  The report recommends that BJS…

Congress Holds Hearings on Behavioral Health

Over the past several weeks, Congressional Committees have held several hearings to discuss mental and behavioral health care, including mental health parity and emergency response to mental health crises. On April 15, the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing on “Meeting the Moment: Improving Access to Behavioral and Mental Health Care.” The Subcommittee heard testimony from Chief of Psychology in the Public Interest at the American Psychological Association (APA) Brian Smedley, Chief Medical Officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Christine Moutier, Senior Vice President of Health Policy at The ERISA…

CJRA, COSSA Host “Ask a Criminologist” Briefing Addressing Policing and Community Relations

On October 22, COSSA, in partnership with the Crime & Justice Research Alliance (CJRA), hosted the latest in an ongoing series of “Ask a Criminologist” briefings, which seek to connect leading criminologists to policy makers to address prevalent criminal justice issues. The event, which focused on issues related to policing and community relations in the wake of recent protests, featured Dr. Jennifer Cobbina, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University; Dr. Rod Brunson, Thomas O’Neill Chair of Criminology at Northeastern University; and Dr. Everette Penn, Professor of Criminal Justice at University of Houston Clear Lake and founder of…

“Why Social Science?” Features Experts on Policing

The latest Why Social Science? post features an article from The Conversation that asked several social scientists who study different aspects of policing to explain what their research has found that could help reduce police prejudice and violence. Read it here and subscribe. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Policing Research Bill Introduced as Congress Continues Focus on Police Reform

In the wake of mass protests against police violence throughout the country, Congress has been active in introducing several bills addressing systemic racism and police violence, including a bill for more social and behavioral science research on these issues. On June 18, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (SST), introduced the Promoting Fair and Effective Policing Through Research Act, a bill that mandates that the National Science Foundation (NSF) fund social and behavioral science research on policing practices and the mitigation of police violence. It also directs the National Institute of…

Message from COSSA on Police Violence and Racial Injustice

We stand in solidarity with those protesting against the abuses of police power and the racist systems that perpetuate this violence. One of the fundamental lessons from the social sciences is that our lives are governed by social systems that were designed to bestow advantages and disadvantages unequally. While the social sciences have helped to illuminate those structures and the inequities and harms they create, the science community has failed to effectively address them within the scientific enterprise itself. While we cannot undo the horrific injustices of the past, we are committed to eradicating the scourge of white supremacy—both within…

June’s Headlines Webchat to Feature Deep Dive Discussion on Police Violence with Dr. Kristin Dukes

COSSA members are encouraged to sign up for the monthly Headlines webchat on Thursday, June 11 at 2:00 pm Eastern. The COSSA team will break down the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month, followed by a deep dive discussion with Allegheny College Dean for Institutional Diversity Kristin Dukes, PhD, a social psychologist whose work has focused on police violence against racial and ethnic minorities. Participants may submit questions in advance by emailing Julia Milton (jmilton@cossa.org). Individuals employed by or affiliated with a COSSA member organization or university can register for the webchat here. Back to…

National Academies Releases Proactive Policing Report

On November 11, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a report, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, entitled Proactive Policing: Effects on Crime and Communities. The report evaluates the impact of proactive policing strategies on crime, communities, and racial disparities in policing. Proactive policing differs from traditional policing in that it targets the underlying causes of crime and disorder rather than reacting to crime after it occurs. The report concludes that sufficient scientific evidence supports the adoption of some proactive policing practices and that proactive policing is particularly…

NIJ Releases New Policing Research Strategic Plan

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research and evaluation arm of the Department of Justice, has released a five-year strategic plan for policing research. Priorities include promoting and supporting research to optimize workforce development for officers and civilian personnel, promoting and supporting research on policing practices, and promoting and supporting research on the relationship between policing and communities. More information can be found here. Back to this issue’s table of contents.


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