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The contemporary policing literature contains numerous examples of partnerships between academic researchers and police agencies. Such efforts have greatly contributed to evidence-based policing by increasing the knowledge base on effective strategies. However, research has demonstrated that successful collaboration between researchers and practitioners can be a challenge, with various organizational and inter-agency factors presenting difficulties at various stages of the process. Additionally, applied research can oftentimes face implementation challenges when the time comes to convert research into practice. The current study contributes to the literature by discussing researcher/practitioner partnerships and program implementation in the context of a multi-city risk-based policing project in the United States. We conceptualize police interventions as contingent on four distinct phases: 1) problem analysis, 2) project design, 3) project implementation, and 4) project evaluation. In this project, the research partners were able to successfully complete each phase in certain cities while the project experienced difficulty at one or more phases in other cities. We discuss these disparate experiences, identifying factors that facilitate or impede successful completion of each step. Policy implications and recommendations for future risk-based policing interventions are discussed.


This work was originally published in European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, available at DOI: 10.1007/s10610-017-9367-9.

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