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June 7, 2021

Roberts' Justice and Security Institute Opens Criminal Justice Survey to the Community

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Roberts Wesleyan College’s Justice and Security Institute (JSI) and Office of Diversity & Equity are seeking the Greater Rochester community’s input on a research initiative to identify, measure and understand perceptions among the Black community about Monroe County police departments. Over the past 10 months, the JSI developed and administered a survey regionally to participants ages 16 to 35 within high school and college settings, collecting data that also seeks to detect barriers to recruitment that hinder the hiring and establishment of a more diverse police force. The research initiative, launched in partnership with the Brighton Police Department in August 2020, will now enter its public access phase, opening up the survey to solicit feedback from the greater community before reviewing and analyzing the data this summer.

The anonymous survey will be accessible to the public digitally through the end of June on the JSI website. Questions will examine existing community perceptions and concerns, how they were formed, and what solutions or recommendations can be implemented to increase diversity within the police force or improve relationships between Monroe County police departments and underserved communities.

“Increasing access to this survey within the community is a crucial step toward understanding perceptions about law enforcement, where those perceptions are derived from and how we can better heed the call for change,” said Herb Alexander, chief diversity officer at Roberts Wesleyan College. “This is an opportunity to hear directly from the voice of the community and use that feedback to create a lasting impact.”

The project is jointly led by Joseph Testani, director of the JSI, and Herb Alexander, chief diversity officer at Roberts Wesleyan College. This study is made possible through a research consortium contract provided by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and will conclude in July 2021 with a presentation of all results to the Brighton Police Department, the New York State DCJS and other regional law enforcement agencies.

This initiative is supported by New York’s Division of Criminal Justice Services and its Criminal Justice Research Consortium, which connects police, prosecutors and probation professionals with academics across the state to research and develop evidence-based approaches to address specific public safety issues in their communities. 

The JSI, which is part of Roberts Wesleyan College’s Community Institutes, provides targeted threat-assessment training and consultation services to local and regional businesses and organizations. To learn more about JSI’s research, consultative and risk-assessment trainings, or services, visit the JSI website or contact JSI Director Joseph Testani.

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