Connecting Police Chiefs and Academic Researchers: The New Division of Policing in the American Society of Criminology

There is a long history of working relationships between law enforcement agencies and academic researchers in the United States. Indeed, partnerships between modern police practitioners and academic researchers were set in motion by August Vollmer, a criminologist and reform-minded chief in Berkeley, California, from 1905 to 1932. As part of his efforts to professionalize policing, Vollmer developed relationships with faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, to educate police officers on an assortment of subjects, such as public administration, sociology, and criminology.1 Over the course of the next several decades, these educational relationships eventually evolved into research collaborations. Police executives began to open their doors to academics during the 1950s and allowed them to access department records and interview, survey, and ride with police officers. The resulting research became the foundational literature in the study of policing.