UTA Criminology Department partners with Arlington PoliceBy Kathryn Cargo Staff Writer
University of Texas Arlington Criminology and Criminal Justice Department and the Arlington Police began a partnership in fall 2012 and are currently working on a neighborhood community conversation project.
They created the partnership to pursue mutual research interests and learn new skills. The Fellow of the partnership is professor Randy Butler. A Fellow acts as a peace officer between the two organizations. Butler has an office for the partnership at the police station. The partnership helps the reputation of the Arlington Police.
“The advantage for the [Arlington Police] is we provide assessment,” Butler said. “The government looks for neutral contacts.”
A couple of times a month, the partnership members hold a community conversation, Butler said. A few police officers from the Arlington Police Department meet at a church with Arlington residents within specific zip codes in the city.
The residents discuss issues of concern in the neighborhood and how they might be solved. The police observe the conversation and provide answers to questions the residents have at the end, Butler said.
One such community conversation occurred Wednesday in the First Baptist Church of Arlington Wade building.
During the community conversation Assistant Police Chief James Hawthorne explained the purpose of the conversation to the group before the meeting.
“This is about anything that is taking place in your neighborhood,” he said.
Hawthorne described how the partnership would compile the information from the community conversations to see what changes need to be made. The conversation started with each of the citizens introducing themselves and continued on to five general questions about life in the neighborhood.
Linda Templin, First Baptist Church of Arlington global ministries assistant, attended the conversation Wednesday.
“I would say that we all have the same concerns of safety, communication and citizen responsibility,” Templin said.
The partnership also involves Butler’s graduate assistant Edward Sas.
“One of two things is going to happen,” Sas said. “Either the current policies in place in those neighborhoods are going to be validated or the data is going to show [the policies] need to be re-examined.”
The partnership also focuses on grants. A grant for evaluation on how citizens respond to the social media of the Arlington Police Department is being worked on along with another grant dealing with gangs and violent crimes in neighborhoods.
Butler said the faculty and staff in the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department get more of a real world experience because of the partnership.
“It really is a win-win situation,” Butler said.
The partnership provides:
- Assessment for the Arlington Police
- Community conversations
- Grants for the Arlington Police
- Real world experience for faculty and staff at UTA
- A strong connection between the two organizations