Video Transcript: Policing Research: If you can't find it, do it

In this video Ken Clary, a captain with the Iowa State Patrol and an NIJ Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) scholar, discusses the need to implement evidence-based practices for effective policing. He discusses how law enforcement agencies and officers should start by reviewing the existing body of knowledge. If they cannot find any applicable research, Clary suggests that they consider doing the research themselves.


KEN CLARY: I was selected as a LEADS scholar in 2016, so I'm just starting into my third year into that program. The Department of Public Safety in Iowa was also chosen as a LEADS Agency in January of this year.

So we've had a lot of involvement with LEADS, which has been extremely beneficial to our department.

It's allowed us to take a look at everything that we do and see if it has data and science infused within it, and if not, how data and science can make it better. It's kind of opened my eyes really to the fact that there's a lot of research out there, you know.

You can go to a myriad of different places and find research on problems that you may be facing. The Police Foundation has their own website, the NIJ obviously has their website. You can go out there and you can determine is there research there for a problem that I am facing.

And if not, there are a number of different colleges and universities around the nation that would love to partner with you. There are universities right there in your home town that would love to partner with you. They have sociology and criminology departments with students who would love to help you delve into your problem and determine if there is a fix to it. And if so, what that might be.

Since the year 2000, our organization has lost about 30 percent of our sworn personnel. Due to budgetary restraints, we're just not allowed to replace officers that we lose through attrition. So we have to look at every dollar that we get from our legislature to ensure that we're using it effectively and efficiently.

So the best way to do that is to utilize data and science to ensure we can show our legislators, we can show the public that they represent, that the money they're giving us is being utilized in the correct way. We have to take a look at what we do, why we do it, and if it works or not. And if it doesn't, then stop doing it and look at the new best practice, the new way that research can help us define that best practice.

So we need to go out, we need to look what's out there with the research that's available. And if the problem that we're trying to solve isn't...there's not a solution out there, then let's go partner with an academic partner and let's go find that solution.

That's what LEADS has really meant to me.

It's opened doors to the fact that there are a lot of answers out there, we just have to go find them. It's in academic research over the last two decades. But if it's not out there, don't be afraid to go out there and test what you're doing, you know. Test not only the possible solution but test it on the back end. Look at your results, find out if they're valid and reliable, you know, reproducible. Because, if they're not, then is it truly an answer?

Date Created: April 1, 2019