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SPD Home / Research / Projects and Program Evaluations

RESEARCH PROJECTS & PROGRAM EVALUATIONS

One of the priorities of the Seattle Police Department is promoting best practices in the policing profession. As part of this, SPD has a commitment to researching cutting-edge policing methods and examination of our current practices, including:

  • Research projects with SPD as the lead, in partnership with other organizations (including academic institutions;
  • Partnerships with other agencies or organizations where SPD is a participant; and
  • Research agreements with outside agencies or organizations, where SPD supplies data or other information for research and study purposes.

More Information:

PROJECTS LED BY SPD

West Precinct Hot SPOTS

Research partner: George Mason University

Status: Done - research being compiled

Funding: COPS grant

Juvenile crime tends to be more concentrated than adult crime.  In addition, research has shown that when juveniles are handled by the criminal justice system, they are more likely to commit crimes in the future and receive further attention from the criminal justice system.  Hypothesis: If we can change the places where juvenile crimes are committed, we can reduce juvenile crime.  Also, in trying to divert juveniles away from the criminal justice system, we hope to reduce the likelihood they will engage in future criminal activity.  There are three identified juvenile crime hotspots in the West Precinct, and several control locations.  Six specially-selected officers and a sergeant were trained in problem-solving techniques and were assigned to police the identified hotspots.


LAW ENFORCEMENT ASSISTED DIVERSION (LEAD)

Research partner: University of Washington; George Mason University

Status: In progress (the 2-year pilot project in Belltown is currently under evaluation, and the City Council has approved additional funding to expand it to Pioneer Square and the International District)

Funding: Arnold Family Foundation; Ford Foundation; Seattle City Council

LEAD diverts low-level drug and prostitution offenders—initially from the Belltown neighborhood of downtown Seattle (as the pilot project), but soon to be expanded to Pioneer Square and the International District—into community-based treatment and support services, instead of processing them through traditional criminal justice system avenues.

DRUG MARKET INITIATIVE (DMI)

Research partner: Arizona State University, Southern Illinois University

Community Partner: Seattle Neighborhood Group (SNG)

Status: DMI I (East Precinct/Completed): DMI II (South Precinct/Completed); DMI III (West Precinct/In progress)

Funding: Bureau of Justice grant for officer training, Seattle City Council Grant

There have been three DMI projects in Seattle.  There was initially no evaluation component of the projects; however, the Seattle Neighborhood Group (SNG) is working with Cody Telep of Arizona State University and Julie Hibdon of Southern Illinois University on a post-project assessment.  All three projects are based on the “Pulling Levers” strategy.  The first phase of all three projects is the identification of the treatment area.  For DMI I, that was the 23rd and Union area of the East Precinct.  For DMI II, that was an area in the Columbia City neighborhood of the South Precinct.  And for DMI III, it was a location in the International District.  Phase two involves identifying the participants—drug dealers—through buy/bust operations.  The participants are then invited to a “call in,” a meeting where they are confronted about their illegal activity and offered a range of services in lieu of prosecution.  They are also shown examples of other individuals who either opted out of the program or were not eligible due to a history of violence, and how those offenders were often serving lengthy prison sentences.  DMI I had 32 participants, DMI II had five participants, and DMI III had two participants.


LEED DEBRIEF PROJECT

Research partner: George Mason University

Status: Complete - Findings being written up

Funding: COPS Grant, Seattle Police Foundation

This project involved debriefs of officers who had been involved with a high-risk incident.  The debriefs—by the officer’s sergeant and witnessed by a lieutenant—occurred within two weeks of the incident and were conducted using a LEED (Listen and Explain with Equity and Dignity)-based format, with open-ended questions and a preference for allowing the officer to guide the interview.


STRATEGIC SOCIAL INTERATION MODULES (SSIM) Program

Research partner: DARPA

Status: Project begun October 2011; MOU runs through April 2015

Funding: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

This project, referred to as the SSIM (Strategic Social Interaction Module) or “Good Stranger” program, attempts to identify how some people (police officers, social workers, etc.) are able to accurately make a quick assessment of others, and then to translate that to training—to include a social interaction simulator—which could be used both by police officers here in the United States and soldiers abroad, who are quite often performing the function of urban policing.  DARPA researchers conducted ride alongs and interviews with SPD officers and reviewed In Car Video of use of force incidents.  DARPA selected several major US police agencies—including Seattle—due to its “low use-of-force rates, training and operational practices, and community diversity” (see MOU, pp. 2-3).  DARPA has concluded the research portion of the project.  Reports and findings have not yet been issued, but they are in the progress of being written.  However, DARPA has worked with the CJTC to create a training curriculum for the basic academy.  Also in development are tablet-based training applications and a social interaction simulator (which is still in the early stages of development, and will require a great deal of additional funding and work—possibly to be undertaken by the Army Training Command).


CUSTOMER SERVICE METRICS

Research partner: University of Washington

Status: Ongoing Since 2006

Funding: Seattle Police Department

In 2006, SPD began monitoring several aspects of its service delivery through telephone surveys of callers to 9-1-1 who have officers dispatched to assist them. These surveys occur once per quarter and their results have provided the Department with a strong base of information about the strengths and weaknesses of its dispatched call responders. Other aspects of the survey gather information on respondents’ feelings of safety and level of reassurance provided by Department services. Analyses of survey results by precinct and citywide over time have also proved useful in gauging the impacts of changes in enforcement emphases in neighborhoods and specific practices stressed by Patrol unit supervisors and commanders.

PROJECTS - OTHER ORGANIZATIONS AS LEAD

RAINIER BEACH JUVENILE HOTSPOTS

City Lead: Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYPI)

Research partner: George Mason University

Status: In progress through 2015

Funding: Bureau of Justice (BJA)

Project Website: safeplaceforyouth.weebly.com

Community-led, place-based, data-driven, research-informed, non-arrest approach to addressing five hot spots of juvenile crime in the Rainier Beach neighborhood. 


PROJECT sAFE NEIGHBORHOOD GRANT

Research partner: Michelle Maike

Status: In progress

Funding: Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), administeref through the Washington Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC)

On a regular basis, SPD will provide the researcher with data about violent crimes where a gun was involved, as well as gang-related crimes.  The goal is to reduce gun- and gang-related crimes.


POLICING PROTESTS STUDY

Lead Organization: American University (Coordinating with City Auditor)

Research partner: American University

Status: In progress

Funding: COPS Grant

A process evaluation of SPD’s School Emphasis Officers will include a review of program goals, the development of a program logic model, a description of the current implementation, and recommendations for outcome measure tracking and an evaluation strategy.

 

SPD RESEARCH AGREEMENTS

IMPROVING THE PRODUCTION AND USE OF FORENSIC SCIENCE

Lead Organization: RAND Corportation

Status: Report in progress

Funding: RAND

The purpose of this study is to more thoroughly understand the use of forensic evidence in the criminal justice system.


CHOICE NEIGHBORHOODS INITIATIVE

Lead Organization: Urban Institute

Status: Report in progress

Funding: HUD Grant

This project studies the early implementation of strategies to transform distressed neighborhoods and to improve outcomes for low-income residents through the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative.  The area under study in Seattle is the Yesler neighborhood.


EXITING PROSTITUTION AND THE ROLE OF SEATTLE'S "STAY OUT OF AREAS OF PROSTITUTION" (SOAP) Orders

Lead Organization: Seattle University

Status: Research agreement is being reviewed by the Law Department

SPD will provide officers with the opportunity to participate in interviews about their perceptions of the effectiveness of SOAP and its general consequences.


URBAN CRIME AND SPATIAL PROXIMITY TO LIQUOR: QUASI-EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE FROM THE CITY OF SEATTLE

Lead Organization: University of California, San Diego

Status: Research agreement is being reviewed by the Law Department

The study will examine crime data at the census tract and block level, and statistically estimate the effect on monthly totals of crime reports of expanded liquor availability in Seattle following the passage of I-1183 in 2012.


POLICE USE-OF-FORCE and MEDICAL OUTCOMES

Lead Organization: Harborview Medical Center

Status: Research agreement is being reviewed by the Law Department

Dr. Strote completed several research projects in conjunction with the Seattle Police Department studying the medical outcomes following use-of-force encounters with the police, including use of the Taser, and the phenomenon of “Excited Delirium.”

 

CITY AUDITOR EVALUATIONS (SPD as PARTNER)

The Seattle City Auditor on its own initiative has also engaged in a number of projects, frequently with the participation of SPD, into aspects of the police department’s operations or other Seattle-specific criminal justice issues.

SEAttle YOUTH VIOLENCE PREVENTION INITIATIVE EVALUATION

City Lead: City Auditor

Research partner: MEF Associates

Status: Report in progress

Funding: Seattle City Auditor

An assessment of the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI).


JUVENILE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ASSESSMENT

City Lead: City Auditor

Research partners: Washington State Center for Court Research, University of Washington School of Medicine, George Mason University

Status: Report in progress

Funding: Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

This is a sub-task of the City Auditor’s examination of the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (listed above).  A preliminary data analysis indicates that arrests for domestic violence account for a significant portion of the arrests of juveniles for violent crime.  The Auditor obtained free technical assistance from the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) of the US Department of Justice to better understand this issue.  The OJP has agreed to help the Auditor answer the following questions:

  1. What is the nature and extent of the juvenile domestic violence problem in Seattle?
  2. What are the most effective ways to address the juvenile DV program in Seattle?

SPD SCHOOL EMPHASIS OFFICER EVALUATION

City Lead: City Auditor

Research partner: George Mason University and University of Maryland

Status: Report in progress

Funding: Seattle City Auditor

A process evaluation of SPD’s School Emphasis Officers will include a review of program goals, the development of a program logic model, a description of the current implementation, and recommendations for outcome measure tracking and an evaluation strategy.


STREET OUTREACH EVALUATION

City Lead: City Auditor

Research partner: National Gang Center

Status: Report in progress

Funding: Seattle City Auditor

The “Alive & Free” street outreach program is run by the YMCA and funded through the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI).  A research evaluation of the street outreach program in Pittsburgh showed that the outreach actually resulted in an increase in street crime, particularly homicides and assaults.  The City Auditor, SYVPI, and Alive & Free are working on an Action Plan that will prepare Alive & Free for evaluation in 2015.  They are receiving technical assistance from the National Gang Center and from Durham County’s gang prevention program.

 

 


 
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