Bloustein Research Assistant Position in Fiscal Effects of Police Misconduct

Spring 2023

Description of Project: We have an exciting opportunity for graduate students interested in criminal justice, public finance, and/or data analytics to join a strong research team based at Bloustein, Indiana University, and Arizona State University.

We are seeking two research assistants to work on a project studying how municipalities finance legal settlements resulting from police misconduct. Such settlements paid to victims of police misconduct are common, after Louisville police officers fatally shot Breonna Taylor, the city reached a $12 million settlement with her family. In 2014 the ten cities with the largest police departments in 2014 paid out $248.7 million dollars in police misconduct settlements. Despite the frequency and size of these settlements we lack basic data on these settlements as well as information on how cities pay for them.

This project will rectify this deficit by collecting data on settlements of police misconduct cases for the 50 largest cities for the period 2000 to present. Once collected, we will use the data to explore how the financial costs of police misconduct settlements can serve as an incentive mechanism in efforts to minimize police misconduct

Description of Duties: This position will be focused on data collection and cleaning. This will involve 1) gathering information on police misconduct settlements using a combination of website/database searches, email communications, and public records requests; 2) following up with public officials regarding records requests 3) extracting financing information from financial documents (comprehensive financial reports and official bond statements) and databases (i.e. EMMA) 4) placing information into easily-readable and accessible Excel spreadsheets. 5) Organizing and coding data in spreadsheets and tracking down missing data.

Drs. Ruth Winecoff (Rutgers), Sian Mughan (ASU), and Denvil Duncan (IU) will provide training and support as needed.

Expectations: RAs will work 10-15 hours per week for up to a combined 250 hours.

Compensation: $20/hour

Required Qualifications:

–       Current Bloustein Masters and PhD students

–       Proficient in Excel

–       Ability to think proactively, be a self-starter, and function both independently and as a team member

–       Strong organizational skills and excellent attention to detail

–       Excellent written and oral communication skills

Preferred candidates will have experience working with financial documents and be comfortable communicating with external stakeholders. Those with interest in conducting research, local government finance and/or issues surrounding policing are strongly encouraged to apply.