The Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) will host a public presentation about the Law Enforcement Contact Study from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19, in the Lawrence Public Library auditorium, 707 Vermont St.
The CJCC and other stakeholders have hired Northeastern University to provide criminal justice research services through a two-year, $175,000 contract. Researchers are helping 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.
CJCC is working 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 August 19-23 to provide training for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Lawrence Police Department, KU Office of Public Safety, Eudora Police Department and Baldwin Police Department. McDevitt and Iwama also will meet with community stakeholders, and they will provide the presentation at the library.
“We have found in the past projects that it is very helpful to get input from as wide a cross section of the community as possible,” McDevitt said. “This improves the analysis and makes the final conclusions more likely to be accepted and implemented.”
Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinator Robert Bieniecki said there are three phases to the project: 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. The goal is to start collecting data in January 2020.
“The project is going as planned and on schedule due to the participation and collaboration of our law enforcement agencies,” said Criminal Justice Coordinator Robert Bieniecki. “We anticipate that the onsite training by the researchers will be very informative to the officers and provide them with the tools and knowledge for successful data collection.”