Graduate Focus

Police studies graduate students presented at ASC 2015 Annual General Meeting

February 29, 2016

By Josh Murphy, PhD Student

Hilary Todd and Josh Murphy, PhD students and researchers in SFU' School of Criminology recently attended the 2015 Annual General Meeting of the American Society of Criminology (ASC) in Washington DC from November 18 to 21.

While attending the conference both Todd and Murphy presented research on various aspects of Canadian policing. On a panel with several other Canadian scholars, Murphy presented a paper that he has co-authored with professor Curt T. Griffiths on the evolution of policing research in Canada. 

“Two years ago I was part of a study with Dr. Griffiths that examined the state of policing research in Canada. During that study we found that the policing research landscape in this country was pretty bleak. With that said, the last two years have seen some glimmers of hope and state of Canadian police research is improving with increased collaboration between academics and police services.  Police studies at SFU is playing a major role in that improvement, particularly in helping to grow the next generation of police scholars,” says Murphy.

Todd presented her MA research on the practice of recording the police conducting their work either properly or improperly and the subsequent uploading of footage onto the Internet. The research Todd presented examined the impact this monitoring has on police officers’ use of justified force. This research is particularly relevant given the proliferation of cell-phone technology and growth of social media. Consequently, Todd’s presentation generated a lively discussion and raised a number of questions among those that attended the panel.

“This research is important because the findings indicate that citizen monitoring contributes to officers using less force than is necessary in a given situation, hesitating when deciding whether or not to employ force, and electing to avoid potentially problematic calls for service. Conferences allow researchers to share theories and findings. Given the novel nature of my research, ASC was the perfect venue to liaise with individuals with similar research interests," says Todd.

In addition to presenting their own work, Murphy and Todd also co-presented the research of assistnat professor Rick Parent. Parent is an expert in Police Use of Force among other aspects of policing, and this particular presentation focused on an examination of the differences between police use of force in Canada and the United States.