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Do DOJ Intervention and Citizen Oversight Improve Police Accountability

Award Information

Award #
2016-R2-CX-0055
Location
Status
Open
Funding First Awarded
2016
Total funding (to date)
$499,835

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $292,979)

Statement of the Problem: Does civilian oversight of local police departments in jurisdictions that have experienced interventions by the Special Litigation Office of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice improve police accountability? Which types of civilian oversight are most effective? Determining best practices in civilian oversight is critical in reducing racial disparities in police conduct.
DOJ intervention often includes new and/or enhanced civilian oversight procedures. Data on the performance of CRBs, however, has not been compiled. To address the two research questions noted above, panel data will be compiled and hypotheses tested to address the research questions.
Research Design and Methods:
Constructing a database
All jurisdictions that have been under DOJ./CRD supervision since 1994 will be included in the database of approximately 400 year/jurisdiction observations. The data that will be gathered for each jurisdiction for each available year will include:
• the aggregate number and shares of types of civilian complaints and the aggregate number and share of types of allegations within complaints, as provided in all available annual reports of the CRBs;
• the number of recommendations made by the CRB related to such complaints and allegations to the Chief of Police (Chief);
• the disposition of complaints and allegations, in total and by category, made by the Chief;
• the general category of each CRBs using the Walker typology;
• additional characteristics of CRBs (such as EIS and auditing systems);
• a variable indicating whether the observation was pre- or post-DOJ intervention;
• additional variables including demographic and economic variables by jurisdiction and time, especially the racial distribution of populations.
Analysis:
Hypotheses are tested to determine whether DOJ interventions reduce civilian complaints and increase sustain rates. Additional hypotheses will be tested to assess which categories and characteristics of CRBs are the most effective in achieving reduced complaints and increased sustain rates. Hypotheses will be tested using OLS and PROBIT regression analysis and ANCOVA methods. The initial results will be shared with CRBs in the database for their reflection and evaluation to improve the interpretation of results.
Products, Reports, and Data Archiving:
• An interim report on the statistical findings;
• A final report integrating the statistical findings with interpretations and evaluation from CRBs; and
• The dataset with appropriate documentation will be provided to NIJ for archiving so that other researchers can use it for replication of the original findings or additional research. ca/ncf

The researchers will create a sample of the jurisdictions that have been under a court order or which have signed MOAs/Consent decrees with U.S. Department of Justice at any point since 1994 when 34 U.S.C. § 12601 (formerly, 42 U.S.C. § 14141) was implemented, beginning with the Pittsburgh 3 and Steubenville cases that began in 1996. This process will generate approximately 30 jurisdictions for possible inclusion in the sample. The data that will be gathered for each jurisdiction for each available year will include the aggregate number and shares of type of complaints and the aggregate number and share of type of allegations within complaints as provided in all available annual reports (or comparable documentation) of the CRBs from the 1996 through 2015. The database will also include the number of recommendations made by the CRB related to such complaints and allegations to the chiefs of the respective police agencies. The disposition of complaints and allegations, in total and by category, made by the Chief will be recorded in the database. The typical categories of the decision by the chiefs are sustained, not sustained, exonerated, unfounded, and no finding. Data collected from jurisdictions will be pooled and a time series analysis will be conducted to investigate a number of hypotheses related to the effectiveness of CRBs in improving police accountability.

"Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law," and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14). NCA/NCF

Date Created: September 11, 2016