News - G.U.'S Laughlin Awarded Grant For Research On Lethal Force Used By Law Enforcement

G.U.'S Laughlin Awarded Grant For Research On Lethal Force Used By Law Enforcement

By Carla Morris

The Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy has awarded Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Michael Laughlin $9,000 to support his research on racial disparity in police killings.

The funding comes in two parts: $7,500 in grant money and $1,500 as part of the Donald R. Cressey Award, a special award for work focused on criminal justice and penology practices. Laughlin’s name appears on the Foundation’s list of 2017 awardees announced last May.

Laughlin is scheduled to graduate with his doctorate in public affairs from the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri in Spring 2019.

Filling The Data Gap

Though many studies examine the use of lethal force by law enforcement, Laughlin says gaps in current data present an incomplete picture. He hopes research associated with his dissertation will fill that void with “more accurate, data-supported” information.

A case in point: “As of 2016,” he says, “[no studies] have used the complete population of law enforcement killings within the U.S. for an entire year.” Laughlin’s work focuses on 2014 data.

Laughlin worked with a team of graduate students from University of Missouri on creating a new database of law enforcement’s intentional use of lethal force that should prove more accurate and more reliable than current databanks.

Sam Barnhardt, a 2018 G.U. graduate who double majored in criminal justice and psychology, also assisted with organizing data.  

Laughlin believes even more complete data would prove useful, like contextual factors surrounding the incidents (e.g., location, time, type of incident, whether the person was armed or unarmed) and details about the persons involved, including the race of the officers who used force and the race of the persons killed.

Learn More

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To Protect and Serve: Criminal Justice and Life Calling

Registration is open until March 29, 2019, for the 2019 Greenville University Forensics conference.

This year’s conference explores the role of forensics in investigating and prosecuting sexual assault. Register online. The conference is supported by Financial Champions like you. To add your financial support, make a donation at the bottom of the registration form, or type “Forensics Conference” into the designation field on the regular giving page.

This story was published on February 06, 2019

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