Police-Citizen Interactions in the United States (Princeton University, Junior Workshop)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2018

A recent spate of controversial instances of police violence have reinvigorated national debates over the proper role of law enforcement in American society, the nature of police-citizen interactions and racial bias in the application of police tactics. The renewal of these debates coincides with the availability of unprecedented access to high-resolution data on what police do and how they interact with citizens. This workshop will familiarize students with the extant empirical literature on the politics of local law enforcement, the efficacy of police reform and how interactions with police shape perceptions of, and engagement with, politics. Students will also be introduced to several publicly available data sets on policing in the U.S., including data on “Stop, Question and Frisk” in NYC and the disbursement of surplus military gear to local police agencies. The mechanics of filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request—a vital tool for obtaining data on police behavior—will also be covered.