In a year marked by a pandemic and increased social justice activism, the meaningful work of IUPUI researchers is more important than ever. That includes the efforts of the O’Neill School’s Jeremy Carter, whose research reaches into the criminal justice system.
Carter’s work spans helping local police de1partments evaluate and improve their own practices to working with national, state, and local officials to evaluate intelligence practices that combat terrorism, extremism, and organized crime. His research has landed him among the four recipients of the 2020 Research Frontiers Trailblazer Award, an annual recognition presented by the IUPUI Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.
“It is incredibly humbling and a great honor to be a recipient of this award,” Carter says. “As a social scientist, it is sometimes challenging to evidence the impact of our work on society. I believe IUPUI has done an incredible job of putting faculty in a position to engage in translational research and truly be community-engaged.”
The award honors IUPUI associate professors who have made exceptional contributions to research in their field within the first three years of their academic appointment.
“We are delighted to recognize the innovation and accomplishments of these talented faculty, given the far-reaching impact of their research on our society and the world in a time of change,” said Janice Blum, interim vice chancellor for research and graduate education at IUPUI.
Carter’s research agenda affects policy and practice in the criminal justice system. His long list of research includes multiple projects tackling both the pandemic and racial injustice.
Together with colleagues, Carter has examined the effects of COVID-19 and physical-distancing policies on social events. He also has published an article exploring the effects of physical distancing on various crime occurrences in Indianapolis and Los Angeles. These findings can help municipalities and police departments better manage decision-making in relation to health safety protocols.
Carter also is working with an interdisciplinary team, including George Mohler and Rajeev Raje from IUPUI’s School of Science, to develop artificial intelligence systems that predict and manage police training, socialization, and patrol pairing. The goal is to reduce civilian complaints and use of force cases by improving officer training programs and partnered pairs.
“Officer misconduct disproportionately affects members from underrepresented groups, especially in the Black community,” Carter explains. “Research has shown that misconduct happens as a result of different socialization processes throughout an officer’s career—from their time in the training academy, to their probationary patrol period, and into their partner assignments.”
Carter says his research team has partnered with police departments in Indianapolis and Los Angeles to test this new intelligence system in hopes of reducing incidents of misconduct. They also are examining the racial and ethnic composition of police departments across the country and comparing it to the communities they serve to provide insight into the increasing call for police departments to require officers live in the jurisdiction they serve.
Researching topics that can help police departments improve their practices isn’t new for Carter. His previous projects have focused on other social issues communities are grappling with, such as drug overdoses and mental health calls. He has mapped where and when these incidents take place, allowing police departments to adjust their resources to better address the issues.
His work also extends to evaluating the technology that police departments use, such as body-worn cameras and acoustic gunshot detection, to measure whether the departments and communities are getting the benefits they were promised by vendors. He explains that budgets are tight when departments want to invest in new technology and contracts can tether them to certain vendors for long periods of time.
By working closely with both law enforcement agencies and community partners, Carter says he and his colleagues can gain better data and insight on how to help make our communities better and safer places for everyone. He hopes those collaborations and the work that comes from them will help inform local leaders well into the future.
“I hope government, foundations, and funders will invest in science to examine social reforms, and that society will be open to the notion of science and facts to guide these reform efforts,” Carter says. “I hope these current events will serve as a catalyst of more research opportunities.”
To learn more about all four recipients, visit this link from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. For more on Dr. Carter’s work, visit the links below.