This project is the most extensive known evaluation of state-wide mandated police reform designed to enhance the safety of police and citizen encounters and reduce the use of force in New Jersey.
The State of New Jersey has implemented several measures to dramatically change police-citizen encounters by enhancing police accountability and altering use of force policies, training, and data collection. NPI is conducting the largest known evaluation of police reform (550+ police agencies, 39,000+ sworn officers) in collaboration with the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General. Using mixed-methods approach, the research team will assess the impact of mandatory statewide de-escalation (Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics – ICAT) and peer intervention (Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement – ABLE) training on officer perceptions and behavior, and assess the impact of changes in use of force (UOF) policies, data collection, and other statewide changes on individual and agency behavior across the state. These changes to use of force policy took effect December 31, 2021.
This study relies on two distinct research phases. Phase I uses a repeated measures survey design to assess officers’ knowledge and attitudes impacted during two use of force trainings: ICAT and ABLE. All officers will be surveyed at four points in time: (a) immediately before training (pre-training), (b) immediately after training (post-training), (c) 6-months after training (initial follow-up), and (d) 12-14 months after training (second follow-up period).
Phase II supplements the survey work by considering additional factors (e.g., changes in UOF policies, data collection, training, and other statewide and local efforts) to determine the overall impact on individual officer and agency behavior (i.e., uses of force, officer/citizen injuries, officer-involved shootings, etc.) at the state and county level. The research team will assess the impact of the suite of reform changes, in combination with the above-detailed changes in training, on the following outcomes: (a) the frequency and severity of UOF incidents; (b) racial/ethnic disparities in UOF incidents; and (c) officer and citizen injuries. These outcomes will be examined at multiple units of analysis, including the individual police-citizen encounter and police agency level. Statistical analyses will include multiple benchmark comparisons, multivariate regression modeling, hierarchical linear modeling, group trajectory modeling, and interrupted time-series analyses. The appropriate analytical techniques used will vary based on the size of the individual agencies examined and the grouping of these agencies for aggregate analyses.
Finally, NPI will identify 3-5 case study agencies where the research team will engage in in-depth statistical analyses around police use of force.
Strategic Priority Area(s)
Project Status: Active
Project Period: September 2021 -
Research Design: Non-experimental
Research Method(s): Case study, Surveys, Secondary data analysis
Strategic Priority Area(s)