Stockton University receives $ 700,000 grant to study police reform


GALLOWAY, NJ – Motorists and pedestrians pulled over by police in Atlantic City or Pleasantville this summer may also be asked to be part of a research project.

The US Department of Justice has awarded Stockton University a grant of $ 700,000 to evaluate a new police response in Atlantic City and Pleasantville, officials said at a press conference Monday.

Starting this summer and over the next 18 months, approximately 2,000 traffic stops in these cities will be monitored as part of a research project. The results will be used to improve relations between the police and the community.

“We want to increase transparency, as well as compliance, satisfaction and citizens’ confidence in the police,” said Stockton assistant professor of criminal justice Nusret Sahin, who is the lead investigator for the Enhancing Procedural (EPJETS) project. -Justness of Encounters Through Substantiation).

The project will broadcast body-camera video of roadside checks, and drivers and pedestrians will receive information on the reasons for police carrying out road checks in certain areas.

According to the Atlantic City press, researchers will interview drivers and pedestrians who have been stopped and ask them to complete a 31-question paper or online survey to gauge the interaction.

Approximately 1,100 drivers or pedestrians will be randomly assigned to the treatment group, in which they undergo the enhanced procedural justice protocol where the police use the new interaction tactics. While the other 900 drivers or pedestrians will undergo conventional police checks without any of the new interventions.

During the press conference, the Atlantic City and Pleasantville police chiefs said they supported the project and its goals.

James Sarkos, the acting officer in charge of the Atlantic City Police Department, said the entire department is involved in the procedural justice training offered by Stockton.

“I saw the benefits firsthand,” Sarkos said. “This project will scientifically validate how we can improve police-community relations.

Stockton will also partner with professors from Rutgers and Northwestern University on this initiative. Northwestern assistant professor of linguistics Rob Voigt said the project takes a unique approach to interpersonal communication using body camera videos.

“We can look at the content of the interactions in the treatment and control groups,” Voigt said.

Two former police officers and now instructors at Stockton, William J. McKnight and Rick Mulvihill are also project experts with Stockton Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Manish Madan and School of Behavioral Sciences Dean Marissa Levy.

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