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Project Accomplishments: January-June 2012

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The purpose of the research project is to promote police integrity by gaining a better understanding of police crime and agency responses to officer arrests. The study provides a wealth of data on a phenomena that relates directly to police integrity—data that police executives have not previously had access to because this information did not exist in any useable format.

During this reporting period we substantially completed tasks 1-5 and 74.6% of task 6 on our project timeline. Those tasks are (1) sort and alphabetize 2008-2011 news articles, (2) log in new cases from sorted articles, (3) scan logged case articles into OnBase TIFF (tagged image file format) files, (4) index OnBase TIFF digital images and perform OCR (optical character recognition) processes on all digital image files, (5) find supplemental news articles and case information, and (6) conduct PACER searches. The project timeline called for task 6 to be performed during May-July 2012, but was moved up to start in January 2012 to get ahead of an increase in the electronic public access fee, from $.08 to $.10 per page, effective on April 1, 2012.

As of the close of business on June 30, 2012, a total of 6,693 police crime arrest cases involving 5,752 individual officers have been logged in our integrated relational and digital imaging database. Of these, 6,242 cases involve 5,358 individual officers arrested for one or more crimes during the time period of January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2011 (451 arrest cases logged in were for officers arrested during the first six months of 2012). Prior to start of this project in January 2012, there were 3,813 police crime arrest cases (involving 3,326 individual sworn law enforcement officers) that had previously been logged in our database. Thus, during this reporting period we added 2,880 new police crime arrest cases and 2,426 more sworn officers to our database.

We also made substantial enhancements to our project database, which utilizes an enterprise-level content management system, OnBase. We developed and implemented a relational database that is now integrated with our digital imaging database within OnBase. The integrated relational and digital imaging database includes electronic case log-in procedures and allows us to structure and search data in different ways for content analyses. The digital imaging database includes 69,222 scanned pages of digital images, consisting of 10,395 case document files and 9,702 coding sheet document files. Of these, 17,756 pages were added since January 1, 2012, consisting of 5,879 case document files and 2,553 coding sheet document files.

We completed approximately 4,000 of 5,358 (74.6%) case locator name searches in the federal courts PACER system and downloaded 47,693 pages of PDF files on “hits” where our search criteria matched names in our project database. The PDF files will be converted to TIFF files and electronically imported into our OnBase project database using an automated document import processor.

In sum, our digital imaging database currently includes 116,915 pages of news articles, court records, and coding sheets.

We learned that more police officers were arrested for crimes during 2005-2011 (an average of 821.7 officers arrested per year [or an average of 967.8 officers arrested per year if we exclude the year 2005 from the calculation on the basis that 2005 for the first year of data collection, search terms were still being developed, and there were half as many police crime arrest cases found]) than we previously estimated (we estimated 714.3 per year). There are also more arrest cases than we anticipated in designing the project timeline. For example, in our prior research we identified 854 arrest cases of police officers in 2006, and 858 arrest cases in 2007. We have now identified an additional 32 arrest cases for year 2006 and additional 94 arrest cases for year 2007. To date, we have also identified 1049 arrest cases for year 2008, 848 for year 2009, 918 arrest cases for year 2010, and 1,154 arrest cases for year 2011.

The project has produced one peer-reviewed article, and a second paper is currently under review for publication consideration. The article, “Fox in the Henhouse: A Study of Police Officers Arrested for Crimes Associated with Domestic and/or Family Violence,” has been accepted for publication in the refereed journal, Criminal Justice Policy Review, and is currently in press.

The project has also produced two conference presentations. The first, Officers’ Drugs of Abuse: A Study of Drug-related Police Crime, was presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences in New York City on March 16, 2012. The second, Police Integrity Lost: Preliminary Findings from a Study of Law Enforcement Officers Arrested, 2005-2011, was presented at the 2012 NIJ Conference in Arlington, Virginia, on June 20, 2012.

Written by Phil Stinson

July 24th, 2012 at 10:20 am

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