Professor Ed Maguire of SPA's Department of Justice, Law & Society was awarded $400,000 to study the role of community policing in the Occupy Movement. The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) issued 24 grants totaling $6.5 million across 14 states, plus the District of Columbia, and Maguire's was among the largest.
The COPS program supports innovative community policing strategies, applied research, guidebooks, and best practices designed to be national in scope. For 2012, the program funded projects related to a number of public safety topic areas, including policing in a new economy, ethics and integrity, child and youth safety, and police practices. Additional topics included community policing enhancement and officer safety and wellness.
"The programs funded through the Community Policing Development awards offer the unique opportunity to not only assist local agencies in their efforts, but also provide best practices to be delivered on the national level," said COPS Director Bernard K. Melekian. "These are projects that can impact the entire practice of policing."
Maguire's project contains three components:
- a detailed review of existing information on how U.S. police have responded to the Occupy movement;
- interviews with the various stakeholders – including police officials, prosecutors, and occupiers – at eight Occupy sites throughout the country during week-long site visits; and
- a focus group in Washington, D.C., featuring representatives of agencies heavily involved in policing the Occupy movement. The main deliverable of the project (in addition to a series of academic articles) will be a guidebook for U.S. agencies on policing social and protest movements.
Maguire also worked closely with the grants office at AU's Washington Institute for Public and International Affairs Research (WIPAR). He wrote, "I would not even have been able to apply for this grant without the significant assistance of WIPAR."