Beyond Compstat: The Role of EBP in Policing

Beyond Compstat: The Role of EBP in Policing
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Resources
Recorded on: 2020-02-13
Unit 1 Slide Deck: Beyond CompStat, The Role of EBP in Policing
Unit 2 Workbook: Beyond Compstat
Unit 3 Recording: Beyond Compstat, The Role of EBP in Policing

Evidence-based policing (EBP) is more than a buzzword or trendy approach in law enforcement. It is an effort to ensure that law enforcement practices, programs, and policies will be effective, efficient and not cause harm to the agency or the community they serve. But what does it mean to be evidence-based and more importantly, how is this done? This webinar will expand on the concept and application of evidence-based policing.

This session’s instructors are Dr. Renée J. Mitchell and Lt. Rachel Tolber. Dr. Mitchell is a Senior Police Researcher and has previously served in the Sacramento Police Department. Meanwhile, Lt. Tolber served the Redlands, California community in various roles and assignments, most currently in the Patrol Services Bureau.


Specifics unpacked on this course include:

  • Evidence-based policing’s focus on creating, reviewing and using the best available evidence in the field of law enforcement.
  • What encompasses ‘best available evidence’.
  • Evidence-based practice’s aim to avert the harm potentially created while ensuring the efficiency and effectiveness of the proposed program, policies, or interventions.
  • The Cambridge Somerville Youth Study: the mentoring program, methodology, goal, and initial findings.
  • Joan McCord’s continuation of the study that revealed the long-term effects of the mentoring program quantified based on seven identified measures.
  • Additional case examples of researches and studies in the medical and law enforcement field that prove good intentions do not always translate to good outcomes.
  • Evidence vs. Experience: The importance of gathering objective data, establishing baselines, and having a feedback loop.
  • The Hierarchy of Evidence: The best evidence as seen by replicating randomized research conducted with objective pre- and post-treatment data between two groups with comparable baselines.
  • CompStat’s limitations when it comes to interpreting data towards actionable insights.
  • Regression to the Mean: What it is and how it can lead law enforcement agencies to misattribute outcomes to interventions put into place.
  • Looking at the mean of a treatment and control group instead of just observing data trends in isolation or in short periods of time.
  • The importance of Randomized Control Trials (RCT) in accurately measuring the outcomes of interventions, treatments or programs.
  • Examples of law enforcement practices that went through rigorous scientific processes with a large body of research and evidence that is proven to actually work and are classified as EBP practices.
  • Getting started with EBP in your agency through a straightforward exercise that assesses existing programs.
  • Comparing the medical and policing model of evidence-based practice.


Topics discussed during the Q&A were:

  • The citation for the Critical Incident Stress Debriefing study.
  • Why EBP is not just a fad and how EBP can encompass all other policing practices and approaches.
  • The advantages of having a third party evaluate an agency’s initiatives.
  • Utilizing partnerships to compensate for the shortage in staffing and how EBP can resolve workforce and productivity issues.
  • How evidence-based policing can support and fortify innovations in the field.


Resources Mentioned During the Webinar



Audience Comments

  • “This was a great primer on EBP.” — Ashley
  • “Reinforcing the idea that whenever possible, we should use practices which are validated and evidence-based.” — Dan
  • “This was by far the best information I have received on evidence-based actions. I do look forward to more like this!” — Karyn
  • “Very good information on the difference between data retrieval and evidence that strategies based upon data are effective.” — Phyllis
  • “This webinar just validated several arguments I’ve made to fellow law enforcement practitioners over the years. They always seem to copy what other agencies are doing (depending on the program), but never seemed to first ask whether or not the program was working! Thank you so much for this webinar!!!” — Toye


Additional Resources
4 years ago
Tools for Categorizing Research Shared by Dr. Renee Mitchell
During her webinar, Beyond CompStat: The Role of EBP in Policing, Dr Renee Mitchell shared a super c […]
4 years ago
After the Webinar: Beyond CompStat – The Role of EBP in Policing. Q&A with the Presenters
Webinar presenters Dr. Renee Mitchell and Rachel Tolber answered a number of your questions after th […]
4 years ago
Thoughts on Evidence Based Policing from Rachel Tolber
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4 years ago
Thoughts on Evidence Based Policing from Dr. Renee Mitchell
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