The Center’s contribution to the field is its unique blend of evidence-based and practice-based police research. Evidence-based police research is the use of rigorous methods (i.e., experiments and quasi-experiments) to test the effectiveness of strategies based on theoretical constructs. The results of which inform “what works” in crime prevention and police practice. Practice-based police research is complementary and focuses on the implementation and evaluation of evidence-based strategies in everyday police practice. That is, this avenue of research helps determine “how to make it work” within the police organizational structure and operations.

Consequently, by incorporating both approaches in a variety of ways, the Center is able to create knowledge from original research as well as “translate” research to practice through publications, presentations, training, and technical assistance. In addition, the Center is a place for networking and collaboration among Radford University faculty, other police researchers and experts, and the police as well as a means for mentoring undergraduate and graduate students for careers in policing and/or police research.  

Through its members and collaboration with police and other researchers, the Center seeks external funding to support and enrich Center activities (i.e., research, training, technical assistance, publications). The Center’s director and associate director, Radford faculty associates, external police practitioner and research fellows, as well as Radford graduate and undergraduate students make up a strong team that is uniquely qualified to carry out Center activities.

While policing is a specific focus within criminal justice, the Center for Police Practice, Policy and Research incorporates a wide range of areas related to policing, understanding and preventing crime, and the criminal justice system. In particular, a key focus of the Center is the implementation and evaluation of evidence-based proactive policing practices related to crime reduction and prevention which includes specific topics such as:

  • Proactive crime reduction approaches and strategies:
    • Community policing, Hot spots policing, Focused deterence, Problem-oriented policing
    • Disorder/Broken windows policing, Predictive policing, Intelligence-led policing, COMPSTAT
  • Stratified policing: A police organizational model for implementing proactive crime reduction
  • Crime analysis, intelligence analysis, and crime mapping
  • Organizational change and leadership
  • Police accountability and Compstat-like approaches

Additional areas of focus include, but are not limited to:

  • Criminal investigations
  • Use of force
  • Police organizational culture
  • Police/community relationships and collaboration
  • School safety
  • Criminal law
  • Emergency management and critical incidents
  • Procedural justice
  • Environmental criminology
  • Crime and place criminology