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MCJ students study race in traffic stops

October 2013


The SAU Masters of Criminal Justice Department partnered last academic year with the cities of Davenport and Iowa City and instituted a research fellowship program for graduate students. Each city funded one fellowship which was awarded competitively to a fulltime MCJ student. The graduate fellow received a generous stipend and took a lead role as a member of a research team comprised of SAU faculty and graduate students.

This team analyzed raw traffic stop data from the Iowa City and Davenport Police Departments with a focus on assessing racial disproportionality in the stops and stop outcomes. This process enhanced the student's graduate experience because they were learning to create and manage large, complex data sets and also gained understanding of advanced statistical techniques and software. This information generally isn't taught in the classroom. The competencies gained during the fellowship provided students with the foundation for pursuing additional graduate work at the PhD level as well as the skills necessary for advanced data analyst jobs in the public and private sector.

The fellows also collaborated on presentations, scholarly papers, technical reports, and served as a liaison to senior police command staff members. For the 2013-14 academic year, the program is entering its second year. The 2012-13 fellowship recipients, Matt Lint and Robert Perfetti, had their papers accepted for presentations at national conferences and coauthored manuscripts currently under review for academic journals.

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