Criminal Justice Department’s Crime and Justice Research Center Receives Major Grant

Written by Karen L. Bystrom
December 13, 2018

Seattle University’s Criminal Justice Department has received a $300,000 grant from the Joyce Foundation to conduct a research project, “Building the Data Infrastructure to Support Democratic Policing,” in Dane County, Wisconsin. The project, conducted through the department’s Crime and Justice Research Center, seeks to address a long-standing problem for law enforcement in a democracy: the police and the communities they serve struggle to engage in civil discourse about police use of force.

Dr. Jacqueline Helfgott, Criminal Justice“The goal of this project is to assist the police departments and their communities to engage in real conversations about police use of force,” says Jacqueline Helfgott, PhD, Center Director and Criminal Justice Professor. “We are collecting powerful data that can facilitate civil discourse about police use of force within and across communities.  Our approach is to promote a shared understanding of the nature and distribution of police use of force within a community, which we believe has the potential to lead to substantially improved relations.”

The project, to be conducted during 2019, is based in Dane County, as the Joyce Foundation serves the Great Lakes region. In addition to faculty researchers, the project will hire up to five Criminal Justice students to help with data coding, analysis, and report writing.

Dr. Matthew Hickman, Criminal JusticeDepartment Chair Matthew J. Hickman, PhD, says, “Our Criminal Justice Department is well known and highly regarded for living Seattle University’s social justice mission by engaging our students in applied criminal justice research. We seek to not only identify inequalities, but to develop real solutions and try and make the world a better place in which to live.”

“The fundamental precept of a university is the growth and extension of knowledge and creativity at the highest level of human capacity,” adds David V. Powers, PhD, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Our faculty members are dedicated to contributing to such growth and extension through their research. Added to that is their commitment to the integration of the Seattle University mission and values into their research. This is a fine example of their contributions.”

Seattle University’s Criminal Justice department offers study in leading-edge interdisciplinary social sciences involving the study of crime and the societal responses to crime. The department offers undergraduate, graduate, certificate and continuing education programs that apply theory and research to inform initiatives, policies and practice with a laser focus on ethics, diversity and leadership.

The oldest and largest of Seattle University's schools and colleges, the College of Arts and Sciences builds upon, and continues, the traditions of Catholic and Jesuit higher education and offers a wide variety of degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, professions, and the arts.

The Joyce Foundation is a nonpartisan private foundation that invests in public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region. The foundation supports policy research, development, and advocacy in five areas: Education & Economic Mobility, Environment, Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform, Democracy, and Culture. Joyce focuses its grant making in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin, and partners with funders to explore promising policy solutions in other states or at the federal level.