UC’s School of Criminal Justice and Cincinnati Police Department Partner to Fight Crime

Chief's Scholars Graduation

Chief's Scholars Graduation

By: Ashley May

Almost eight years ago, University of Cincinnati’s School of Criminal Justice (CJ) forged a partnership with the Cincinnati Police Department (CPD), improving efficiencies and expertise across the CPD and, consequently, lowering the rate of violent crime in the community.

While the two institutions have collaborated on research projects for many years, it wasn’t until 2006 that a true partnership emerged when CJ faculty were invited to provide training to CPD crime analysts. Now, UC and CPD frequently collaborate on projects that arise from academic research and CPD technical needs.

“There were always connections but it wasn’t a fully developed partnership until we went in and really helped with the training of officers,” said Robin Engel, professor and director of the Institute of Crime Science at UC. “We have become part of the fabric of what happens in the police department.” 

Dr. Engel serves as principle investigator for the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV), a UC/CPD initiative that targets Cincinnati’s violent offenders with swift consequences, particularly for gun violence. With the help of CJ doctoral students, CPD officers work to identify which criminals are involved with violent street groups. CIRV then targets these offenders by promising law enforcement and prosecutorial action against those who commit violent acts, and by offering streamlined social services to those willing to transition into a pro-social lifestyle. Other recent UC/CPD collaborations include using social networking to assist in taking down gangs and developing a database that allows CPD officers to track the violence level of CIRV-targeted groups and individuals.

“One of the smartest moves our department has made in the recent past is our partnership with the University of Cincinnati’s School of Criminal Justice,” said Lt. Colonel Paul Humphries, a CPD staff member and graduate of UC’s Chief’s Scholars Program, an accelerated master’s program that allows carefully selected Cincinnati Police personnel to attend the University of Cincinnati, free of tuition and fees, while still on-duty.

As of June 2012, 15 officers have received master’s degrees from the Chief’s Scholars program, including CPD Captain Daniel Gerard who said, “This partnership is the most productive collaboration I’ve been a part of in my 28 years of law enforcement. I’m a better commander because of [the partnership], and I am proud to be both a part of the work and a UC CJ graduate.”   

Students in the CJ program at UC have opportunities to participate in the award winning, world renowned partnership between UC and CPD. Undergraduate students go on ridealongs as well as intern with the CPD. Graduate students and doctoral students also play a major role in the partnership, working with CJ faculty on spatial and statistical analysis, data collection, and project evaluation and at the police station on current projects.