Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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COSSPP faculty to lead policing studies commissioned by Collins Institute

Clockwise from top right: James Wright, April Jackson, Tyler McCreary

The LeRoy Collins Institute has commissioned two new public policy studies to examine the role of civilian oversight committees and the effectiveness of the use-of-force policies in policing in Florida. The studies’ findings will be used to address existing policies and recommend potential solutions and changes. 

“With the recent rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the increased focus and scrutiny on policing practices across the country, it is vitally important for these important policy areas to be carefully studied now,” said Lester Abberger, Board Chair of the LeRoy Collins Institute. “Our hope is that these studies will provide significant insights and evidence to help develop stronger and more effective and equitable policies on policing.”  

The first study, “Improving Police Community Relations: The Role of Civilian Oversight Agencies (COA) in Florida,” will be led by James E. Wright II, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy. Wright’s research will map cities in Florida that have adopted COAs and analyze their composition and discretion, examine whether having a COA affects the reduction of racial disparities and create a dataset that can be used to understand the role of COAs and how they can be used to help solve tensions between communities of color and law enforcement.

The second commissioned study will examine the use and effectiveness of police use-of-force policies in 64 of Florida’s 67 counties with the goal of providing data, tools and recommendations for policymakers and police agencies on the use of force in the future. This research will be led by a team of three investigators. Tyler McCreary, Ph.D, assistant professor in the Department of Geography, will serve as the lead investigator. Co-investigators include Miltonette Craig, J.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice Sciences at Illinois State University, and April Jackson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at FSU.

“We are excited to work with these excellent scholars on these timely and challenging issues facing Florida and the nation,” said Carol S. Weissert, Collins Institute Director. “It is hard to imagine any topic of more relevance today than the provision of public safety.”

Each study will be funded through a $40,000 grant provided by the institute. The studies are expected to be completed within one year.

Established in 1988, the LeRoy Collins Institute is a nonpartisan, statewide policy organization housed in the Florida State University College of Social Sciences and Public Policy. The institute studies and promotes creative solutions to key private and public policy issues facing the people of Florida and the nation.