Faculty Research

Professor Gennaro F. Vito, Professor George E Higgins and Anthony G. VitoTracking Capital Homicide Cases in Jefferson County, KY 2000-2010; published in the American Journal of Criminal Justice, the Journal of the Southern Criminal Justice Association; received and accepted April 2013 ; ISSN 1066-2316; Am J Crim Just DOI 10.1007/s12103-013-9209-3.  The final publication is available at link.springer.com

Abstract: In 1998, Kentucky’s adopted the Racial Justice Act (RJA). The key sponsor of the law, Kentucky Senator Gerald Neal asserted that it was not a result of whether you were for or against the death penalty but “whether the death penalty should be subject to the same standards of nondiscrimination as any other institution in our state.” However, one noted negative effect of the RJA is that prosecutors have adopted policies to seek the death penalty in every eligible case, rather than making this decision on a case-by-case basis. This study examines the outcome of such policies in Jefferson County, Kentucky from 2000 to 2010.

 

Professors Gennaro F. Vito,  Geetha Suresh and George E. Richards; Emphasizing the servant in public service; the opinions of police managers; published in Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Managment;  PIJPSM  34,4  674; accepted November 2010.

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to determine the opinion of 126 police managers from 23 US states regarding their ideal leadership style as expressed under items of the leader behavior description questionaire (LBDQ).

 

Professors George E. Higgins, Gennaro F. Vito, and Elizabeth L. Grossi, The Impact of Race on the Police Decision to Search During a Traffic Stop: A Focal Concerns Theory Perspective; published in the Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice  2012 28: 166 originally published online 4 December 2011; DOI: 10.1177/1043986211425725

The online version of this article can be found at: http://ccj.sagepub.com/content/28/2/166

Abstract: Racial profiling is an important issue in contemporary policing. Research in this area, especially in the decision to search, has relied on an outcomes test and correlates that are largely devoid of theory. Thus, the research is unable to provide a clear understanding of police decision making during a traffic stop. The purpose of the present study was to examine this process. Using data from more than 36,000 traffic stops from Louisville, KY, the present study applies the focal concerns theory to this decision-making process. The research results indicate that blameworthiness is the primary reason that searches are performed for the entire sample of traffic stops as well as those for the Black and White subsamples.

Professor Gennaro F. Vito, Professor George E Higgins and Anthony G. VitoCapital Sentencing in Kentucky 2000-2010; published in the American Journal of Criminal Justice, the Journal of the Southern Criminal Justice Association; received and accepted June 2014 ; ISSN 1066-2316 Vol 38 Number 4; Am J Crim Just (2014) 39:753 770 DOI 10.1007/s12103 014 9258 2.  The final publication is available at link.springer.com

Abstract : The current study attempts to build upon previous analyses of capital sentencing in Kentucky and other states. Using data compiled from official court records compiled by the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy, we examined death eligible homicide cases for the years 2000–2010 for the state (N=359). Multivariate analysis determined that the death penalty in Kentucky was sought 3.17 times or 217 % more when the victim is female. It also found that cases featuring a black defendant and a white victim were 56 % less likely to result in a plea than cases featuring other defendant/victim racial combinations. Despite legal requirements, Kentucky fails to collect data to assess the factors that influence the seeking and imposition of the death penalty.

 

Professor Deborah Keeling, Justice Administration, with LMPD released the findings from the "Vehicle Stops Report" that she prepared for the police department at Chief Steve Conrad’s request. This report was an analysis of a year’s worth of Louisville Metro Police traffic stops. The report was the fourth she has done for LMPD since 2004 but the first released publicly. See the full report and associated story at WFPL’s website. See more coverage on the WDRB, WLKY, and The Courier-Journal websites.

 

 

 

Prof. George E. Higgins, Department of Justice Administration, has been ranked 4th Worldwide in Scholarly Publications among Criminologists; see Ellen G. Cohn & David P. Farrington, Publication Productivity among Criminologists, Journal of Criminal Justice Education, (2014), Vol. 25, No. 3, p275-303.

 

 

As social networking continues to evolve and expand, the opportunities for deviant and criminal behavior have multiplied. Social Networking as a Criminal Enterprise explores how new avenues for social networking criminality have affected our criminal justice system.

Published:  April 28, 2014 by CRC Press
Editor(s):  Catherine D. Marcum, George E. Higgins

 

 

Research on the Criminogenic Impact of Sexually Oriented Businesses (SOBs)

Professors Eric McCord and Richard Tewksbury recently completed a study examining the criminogenic impact of sexually oriented businesses (SOBs).  The study resulted in two scholarly articles (McCord & Tewksbury, 2013; Tewksbury & McCord, 2012) that have strong policy implications and are being utilized nationwide by city officials and their legal staffs to justify more comprehensive regulation of these industries. Even the non-scholar public media has picked up on the study and reported its results.

Both professors are associated with Secondary Effects Research, a group of university-affiliated social scientists who conduct research on the crime and disorder impacts of sexually oriented businesses.

 

Harry E.Allen , Bruce Ponder and Edward J. Latessa, CORRECTIONS IN AMERICA, 13th edition (2013). This is the longest continually published textbook in the field of corrections. At work on the 14th edition. Corrections in America has been the best-selling text in the field since the 1970s. The 13th edition continues its established tradition of comprehensive, student-friendly coverage with extensive supplemental material. It covers virtually all aspects of corrections, including its history, prisons in the present, correctional ideologies, sentencing and legal issues, alternatives to imprisonment, institutional corrections, and correctional clients.

 

 

Researchers from the UK College of Pharmacy’s Institute for Pharmacy Outcomes and Policy (IPOP) received a two-year, $363,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice to study prescription drug monitoring programs. Faculty members Karen Blumenschein, Trish Freeman and Jeff Talbert are collaborating with co-investigators Gennaro Vito and George Higgins from the University of Louisville Department of Justice Administration on the project, which is entitled “Optimizing Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs to Support Law Enforcement Activity".

 

Patterns of Victimization Between and Within Peer Clusters in a High School Social Network

 

Kristin Swartz, Ph.D; Bradford W. Reyns, Ph.D.; Pamela Wilcox, Ph.D & Jessica R.Dunham, MS

Abstract: This study presents a descriptive analysis of patterns of violent victimization between and within the various cohesive clusters of peers comprising a sample of more than 500 9th–12th grade students from one high school. Social network analysis techniques provide a visualization of the overall friendship network structure and allow for the examination of variation in victimization across the various peer clusters within the larger network. Social relationships among clusters with varying levels of victimization are also illustrated so as to provide a sense of possible spatial clustering or diffusion of victimization across proximal peer clusters. Additionally, to provide a sense of the sorts of peer clusters that support (or do not support) victimization, characteristics of clusters at both the high and low ends of the victimization scale are discussed. Finally, several of the peer clusters at both the high and low ends of the victimization continuum are “unpacked,”  allowing examination of within-network individual-level differences in victimization for these select clusters.

 

Professor Gennaro F. Vito has received two research grants recently. The first is from the Proteus Foundation to continue the study of capital sentencing in Kentucky in conjunction with the American Bar Association. The second study will begin in 2013, funded by the National Institute of Justice in conjunction with the University of Kentucky School of Pharmacy is a multi-state analysis of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). Professor George Higgins is a co-principal investigator on both grants. Here is a sample of Dr. Vito’s most recent publications:Vito, A.G. & Vito, G.F. (forthcoming). “Lessons for Policing from Moneyball: The Views of Police Managers – A Research Note.” American Journal of Criminal Justice.

Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball demonstrates how Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane used research evidence to improve his team’s performance in a cost-effective manner. This presentation focuses upon the responses of police managers attending the Administrative Officer’s Course in the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville. The respondents identified three elements of Moneyball that could be applied to police management: 1) using statistical analysis to guide operations, 2) challenging the status quo, and 3) doing more with less.

 

“Characteristics of Parole Violators in Kentucky.”  Federal Probation, Vol. 76, No. 1. The data for the present study comes from the Kentucky Department of Correction’s (KDOC) official reports on offenders from July 2002 to December 2004. The data for this study are drawn from offenders paroled during this 30-month period. This resulted in a sample of 10,912 offenders. For each offender, data was collected on whether they returned to prison and, if so, the circumstances surrounding their return (i.e., when and for what reason/offense). All parolees were followed for a period of five years post release.

Campbell, B. A., Menaker, T. A., & King, W. R. (2015). The determination of victim credibility by adult and juvenile sexual assault investigators. Journal of Criminal Justice, 43, 29-39. Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2014.12.001.

Abstract: Purpose: Literature on sexual assault case outcomes has demonstrated that victim credibility is a critical component in criminal justice outcomes. Much of this literature has focused on prosecutors’ evaluations of victim credibility and the role of credibility in decisions to charge. Comparatively less research has examined the specific factors that impact police investigators’ evaluation of victim credibility. This study examines how sexual assault investigators determine victim credibility.

Methods: This study analyzes interview data collected from 44 sexual assault investigators to understand how investigators evaluate victim credibility, and victim credibility’s role in decisions to arrest and present cases to prosecutors.

Results: Findings indicate that extralegal characteristics including victim behavior at the time of victimization and victim moral character were important factors when evaluating victim credibility. In the absence of corroborating evidence, victim credibility was considered the most critical factor in decisions to arrest and present cases to prosecutors. Finally, important distinctions were revealed between juvenile and adult investigators regarding the evaluation of credibility.

Conclusions: Police investigators’ decisions are guided by their perceptions of the characteristics necessary for prosecutors to accept charges in sexual assault investigations. Among these characteristics, victim credibility appeared to be the most important.

**********

Menaker, T. A., Campbell, B. A., & Wells, W. (In Press). The use of forensic evidence in sexual assault investigations: Perceptions of sex crimes investigators. Violence Against Women.

Abstract: Despite the potential value of DNA evidence for criminal investigations and prosecution, we have a limited understanding of the way forensic evidence is used and its impact on case outcomes. This study uses qualitative data to describe the way investigators from the Houston Police Department use DNA evidence during investigations of sexual assaults. Results show DNA evidence has limited influence during investigations and the value of DNA evidence is shaped by other evidentiary factors. The findings provide insight about the utility of DNA evidence, instances when DNA evidence is least and most useful, the importance of DNA evidence in comparison to other evidence, and the likely aggregate impact of DNA evidence across sexual assault cases.

Campbell, B. A. (2015). Summer cop: A qualitative study of summer reserve police officers. Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice and Criminology, 3, 87-116. Link: http://www.jqcjc.org/documents/v3i1.pdf#page=95

Abstract:  There are approximately 18,000 police agencies employing 750,000 police officers in the United States in order to police a population over 300 million citizens. In addition, sketchy estimates state there are 400,000 police reserves assisting full-time sworn officers in their duties. One major subgroup of these police reserves are summer police officers (“summer cops”) who serve full-time during the tourist season in mostly beach communities. There has been little to no research into this subpopulation of police officers and little is known about their background and reasons for becoming summer reserve officers. In order to fill this gap in the literature, this study used participant observation and in-depth interviews to assess 15 summer officers in a Maine police department. The study presents major findings about their backgrounds, motives, and goals for becoming summer police officers, as well as their experiences in becoming summer cops and perceptions of training.

**********

Nix, Justin. (In Press). Police perceptions of their external legitimacy in high and low crime areas of the community. Crime & Delinquency (Accepted 11/11/2015).

Abstract:  Until recently, police legitimacy research has primarily focused on citizen perceptions of the police. However, it may be that the police believe citizens associate other factors, such as distributive justice or performance, with legitimacy. The present study adds to the literature by surveying a nationally representative sample of U.S. police officers about how they believe citizens residing in high and low crime areas of the community evaluate police in terms of legitimacy. Findings suggest that respondents believe procedural and distributive justice are important to citizens of both areas in terms of generating trust. At the same time, respondents believe that citizens of high and low crime areas feel obligated to obey the police for different reasons.

**********

Nix, Justin & Scott E. Wolfe. (In Press). The impact of negative publicity on police self-legitimacy. Justice Quarterly. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/07418825.2015.1102954.

Abstract:  High-profile events involving police use of force in various cities throughout the US and internationally have garnered enormous media coverage and demonstrated the importance of police-community relations. To date little empirical attention has focused on how such events may negatively impact police officers. Using survey data from 567 officers, this study considers whether perceptions of negative publicity are adversely related to officers’ sense of self-legitimacy (i.e. the confidence they have in their authority). Findings revealed officers who felt less motivated as a result of negative publicity expressed less self-legitimacy. However, the degree to which officers felt their job had become more dangerous as a result of negative publicity was not significantly related to self-legitimacy. These findings increase our understanding of the sources of self-legitimacy and reveal that negative publicity surrounding law enforcement presents a unique challenge to officers’ confidence in their authority, which can have important implications for the community.

**********

Wolfe, Scott E. & Justin Nix (In Press). The alleged “Ferguson Effect” and police willingness to engage in community partnership. Law and Human Behavior. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/lhb0000164.

Abstract:  In response to increasing violent crime rates in several U.S. cities over the past year, some have pointed the finger of blame at de-policing, a result of the so-called “Ferguson Effect.” Although the Ferguson Effect on crime rates remains an open question, there may also be a Ferguson Effect on other aspects of police officers’ jobs, such as willingness to partner with community members. This study used data from a cross-sectional survey of 567 deputies at an agency in the southeastern U.S. to accomplish 2 objectives: (a) to determine whether the Ferguson Effect is associated with de-policing in the form of decreased willingness to engage in community partnership, and (b) to determine whether such an effect persists upon accounting for perceived organizational justice and self-legitimacy. Ordinary least squares (OLS) regression equations revealed that the Ferguson Effect (as operationalized by reduced motivation stemming from recent negative publicity) was associated with less willingness to engage in community partnership (b = -.10; 95% CI = -.16, -.05). However, upon accounting for organizational justice and self-legitimacy, the Ferguson Effect was rendered insignificant (b = .01; 95% CI = -.05, .07). The findings suggest that officers who have confidence in their authority or perceive their agency as fair are more willing to partner with the community to solve problems, regardless of the effects of negative publicity.

**********

Wolfe, Scott E., Justin Nix, Robert J. Kaminski, & Jeff Rojek (In Press). Is the effect of procedural justice on police legitimacy invariant? Testing the generality of procedural justice and competing explanations of legitimacy. Journal of Quantitative Criminology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10940-015-9263-8.

Abstract:   Objectives: This study tests the generality of Tyler’s process-based model of policing by examining whether the effect of procedural justice and competing variables (i.e., distributive justice and police effectiveness) on police legitimacy evaluations operate in the same manner across individual and situational differences.

Methods: Data from a random sample of mail survey respondents are used to test the ‘‘invariance thesis’’ (N = 1681). Multiplicative interaction effects between the key antecedents of legitimacy (measured separately for obligation to obey and trust in the police) and various demographic categories, prior experiences, and perceived neighborhood conditions are estimated in a series of multivariate regression equations.

Results: The effect of procedural justice on police legitimacy is largely invariant. However, regression and marginal results show that procedural justice has a larger effect on trust in law enforcement among people with prior victimization experience compared to their counterparts. Additionally, the distributive justice effect on trust in the police is more pronounced for people who have greater fear of crime and perceive higher levels of disorder in their neighborhood.

Conclusion: The results suggest that Tyler’s process-based model is a ‘‘general’’ theory of individual police legitimacy evaluations. The police can enhance their legitimacy by ensuring procedural fairness during citizen interactions. The role of procedural justice also appears to be particularly important when the police interact with crime victims.

**********

Nix, Justin (In Press). Do the police believe that legitimacy promotes cooperation from the public? Crime & Delinquency. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/0011128715597696.

Abstract:  Tyler’s process-based model of regulation suggests that when citizens perceive the police as a legitimate authority, they are more likely to cooperate in the form of reporting crimes and providing information to the police. Yet most studies have considered citizens’ perceptions of police legitimacy—few studies have asked the police what they feel makes them legitimate in the eyes of the public. Likewise, no studies have considered whether the police believe legitimacy is associated with cooperation from the public. The present study addresses this gap using data from a stratified sample of U.S. police executives. Findings suggest police believe performance, rather than procedural justice, is the key to generating cooperation from the public.

 

 

 

Campbell, Bradley, Edward R. Maguire, William R. King and Matthew C. Matusiak (On Line and In Press) - “Testing the effects of new personnel, processes, and technology on ballistics evidence processing productivity”.

Abstract: Automated ballistic imaging technology is a potentially effective tool for improving the investigation and prosecution of violent crime involving guns. This technology enables crime laboratories and law enforcement agencies to link crimes committed with the same gun. Yet, in many localities, structural and procedural constraints hamper the potential effectiveness of ballistic imaging as an investigative tool. This study examines the impact of new personnel, processes, and technology on ballistic evidence processing productivity in the Stockton Police Department’s Firearms Unit. Using interrupted time series analysis, we examine the impact of several organizational changes on ballistic evidence processing productivity. Our findings demonstrate that the Stockton Police Department achieved rapid improvements in its ballistic evidence processing capacity. The study shows how introducing key organizational changes in a police department or a crime laboratory can generate disproportionate impacts on ballistic evidence processing productivity.

    Police Quarterly, 1098611115618374, first published on January 7, 2016