The Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) will host a public presentation about the Law Enforcement Contact Study at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, in Flory Meeting Hall at Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2120 Harper St. The presentation is free and open to anyone.
The CJCC and other stakeholders have hired Northeastern University to provide criminal justice research services through a two-year, $175,000 contract. Researchers will help develop and implement a program for documenting traffic and pedestrian stops. They also will analyze data to determine if any disproportionalities exist and then provide related recommendations.
The CJCC will be working primarily with three researchers: Jack McDevitt and Amy Farrell, of Northeastern University, and Janice Iwama, of American University. McDevitt and Iwama will be in Douglas County Jan. 24-25 to meet with stakeholders, which include: Douglas County Government, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Lawrence Police Department, KU Police Department, Eudora Police Department and Baldwin City Police Department. They also will be giving the public presentation Jan. 24.
“The CJCC and other stakeholders would like this process to be as transparent as possible, starting by engaging with community members and local law enforcement officials,” McDevitt said. “This forum will provide community members with the opportunity to weigh in on the process and to address any questions about the project.”
Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinator Robert Bieniecki said there are three phases to the study: Planning, Data Collection and Analysis. Douglas County is in the planning phase, which includes: developing a leadership team, identifying existing data collection possibilities in participating agencies, developing training for officers and establishing an audit process.
“We are excited about working with this team of researchers who are experts regarding race related issues in criminal justice systems and look forward to seeing the results of this study,”Bieniecki said.