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Qualitative Police Study

PIs: Dr. Alissa Greer & Dr. Amanda Butler (Simon Fraser University); Dr. Sameer Imtiaz (OCRINT); Dr. Tara Elton-Marshall (University of Ottawa)

Working Group:   TBD

To examine the impacts of decriminalization on the police, we will conduct qualitative interviews and engage with police service representatives. There will be a total of four qualitative assessments, spread out over five years. This project will be conducted in close collaboration with CRISM-affiliated academics/researchers and collaborators based out of Simon Fraser University in BC. The main indicators we plan to examine include:

  • Police training and education on decriminalization (e.g., police awareness and understanding of a harm reduction approach in interactions with PWUD, promotion of unbiased policing, anti-stigma)
  • Application of unbiased policing, a harm reduction and anti-stigma approach in interactions with PWUD, including diverting PWUD away from the criminal justice system
  • Police knowledge of available health services for PWUD
  • Police connections to available health services for PWUD
  • Police resources spent on enforcement or prosecution of personal possession
  • Interactions between police and PWUD (including in relation to discretion and amounts typically seized or discarded)
  • Perceptions towards PWUD, decriminalization, and its impacts (e.g., whether decriminalization has changed the way that police view and interact with PWUD)
  • Changes to operationalization (e.g., staffing, resources, years on the job, resignations, retirements, transfers, workforce redesign, ability to prioritize serious crimes, etc.)

Preceding each interview, we will also administer a brief socio-demographic survey to each participant to capture relevant data (e.g., age, race, gender, sexual orientation, rank, years on the job, geographic location including rurality, and a question regarding whether they’ve been involved in prior research related to decriminalization, etc.) to provide contextual information regarding the police sample