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Rethinking Intelligence: Interview with Cynthia Lum

Dr. Cynthia Lum is an Associate Professor at George Mason University and the director of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy. She was formerly a Baltimore City police officer and detective, and an instructional professor at the U.S. State Department International Law Enforcement Academy.

Published: October 15, 2014

Inter­view Tran­script

Dr. Cynthia Lum is an Asso­ci­ate Professor at George Mason Univer­sity and the director of the Center for Evid­ence-Based Crime Policy. She was formerly a Baltimore City police officer and detect­ive, and an instruc­tional professor at the U.S. State Depart­ment Inter­na­tional Law Enforce­ment Academy. She and Rutgers Univer­sity professor Leslie Kennedy recently published an edited volume, Evid­ence-based Counter-terror­ism Policy.

Mike German, a fellow at the Bren­nan Center for Justice at NYU Law School, inter­viewed Cynthia Lum on Octo­ber 15, 2014.


Q: Today I’m with Cynthia Lum, who is an Asso­ci­ate Professor at George Mason Univer­sity and one of the founders of the Center for Evid­ence-Based Crime Policy. Why don’t we start with the basics: what is evid­ence-based poli­cing?

LUM: Evid­ence-based poli­cing is the use of science in poli­cing; so it’s advoc­at­ing for police to pay more atten­tion to the scientific research about all areas of poli­cing so crime control, preven­tion but also internal affairs, police rela­tion­ships with the community and other topic areas. So evid­ence-based poli­cing is about not only using that research, but it’s also about apply­ing scientific processes such as eval­u­ation, crime analysis, and survey – XL survey meth­od­o­logy to look at rela­tion­ships with the community across differ­ent areas of poli­cing. It’s not a panacea to poli­cing- it’s meant to be an addi­tional source of inform­a­tion that police can use to improve their decision-making about crime and rela­tion­ships with the public.

Q: Okay. And the police are used to hand­ling evid­ence in pursu­ing the crim­inal prosec­u­tion so you would think that they would be open to this sort of a scientific approach.

LUM: I think evid­ence-based poli­cing, it’s often confused about crime evid­ence in poli­cing. Evid­ence-based poli­cing specific­ally refers to research evid­ence and know­ledge as opposed to evid­ence that’s collec­ted at a crime scene. Police are very famil­iar with collect­ing evid­ence, with devel­op­ing cases using evid­ence. They’re less famil­iar with the use of research evid­ence and science in their daily applic­a­tions. So yes, police are very aware of the use of evid­ence in crim­inal invest­ig­a­tions and the evid­ence collec­ted at a crime scene.

Q: And I should say you were a police officer your­self.

LUM: I was…

Q: And a detect­ive?

LUM: Yes. So we’re very famil­iar with collect­ing evid­ence and hand­ling it prop­erly and using it to make decisions about invest­ig­a­tions. That’s differ­ent than what evid­ence-based poli­cing is talk­ing about. It’s talk­ing about the use of research evid­ence, both for tactical and stra­tegic decision-making. And this is some­thing that police are less famil­iar with. They’re becom­ing much more famil­iar with the research evid­ence now about poli­cing. But many of the prac­tices that many police agen­cies in the United States – and around the world – use would not neces­sar­ily be considered evid­ence-based or strongly evid­ence-based. They’re much more proced­ures-based: tradi­tional, react­ive-oriented, given that that is the nature of poli­cing as it’s developed in the United States…

Q: And how recept­ive have police depart­ments been to this approach?

LUM: I think it varies. It depends on the police lead­ers and command­ers that are in charge of a police organ­iz­a­tion. I’ve encountered many who are extremely recept­ive, who have thought very hard about research evid­ence and have been involved in research projects. For example, we have a number of indi­vidu­als in the Evid­ence-Based Poli­cing Hall of Fame now where we reward police chiefs and other officers- you don’t have to be at a chief level- for their consist­ency and commit­ment to these research­ing prac­tices.

Q: And I imagine as budgets tighten at state and local police depart­ments that it becomes almost a require­ment to start basing your activ­it­ies on actual scientific evid­ence, that it’s effect­ive?

LUM: I think in theory that’s what we would hope, but it’s not how it works in prac­tice. To go back to your previ­ous ques­tion, there are some agen­cies that still are resist­ant to innov­a­tion more gener­ally. Evid­ence-based approaches require you to re-think entirely the way you’re doing deploy­ment of your patrol and invest­ig­a­tions. Right now, police are very indi­vidual-oriented, they’re very react­ive and proced­ures-based and they’re very general in their tactics and strategies. The evid­ence tends to point to place-based strategies, proact­ive approaches to poli­cing, and also tailored strategies. This is a sea change in the way police are doing busi­ness and any kind of major innov­a­tion is going to result in some resist­ance. And it can vary; it’s not just the large agen­cies that are more progress­ive, for example. Some­times larger agen­cies aren’t more progress­ive. Some­times the smal­ler agen­cies are much more will­ing to try out some­thing new, or to work with a researcher, or to use an innov­a­tion.

Q: Great. Since the 9/11 terror­ist attacks, obvi­ously we’ve devoted a tremend­ous amount of resources to counter-terror­ism, at the Federal level, at the State level and local level. We’ve also given law enforce­ment agents an awful lot of author­ity- new author­ity that impacts the privacy and civil liber­ties of normal Amer­ic­ans. What evid­ence do we have that the counter-terror­ism meth­ods that these agen­cies are using are actu­ally effect­ive?

LUM: We have very little evid­ence about counter-terror­ism meas­ures- either in the United States or abroad. A few years back, I had done a system­atic review for the Camp­bell Collab­or­a­tion where we looked at all the research about counter-terror­ism inter­ven­tions and terror­ism more gener­ally. There were thou­sands and thou­sands of pieces of research. We could only liter­ally find seven stud­ies that had actu­ally eval­u­ated using at least moder­ately rigor­ous meth­ods, the impact or the effect­ive­ness of a counter-terror­ism inter­ven­tion. So, as you can see, the amount of research that’s publicly avail­able and that we know about is very, very small in terms of under­stand­ing the effect­ive­ness of Home­land Secur­ity, counter-terror­ism, even milit­ary oper­a­tions over­seas.

Q: And the govern­ment actu­ally funds a tremend­ous amount of stud­ies of terror­ism.

LUM: It does.

Q: Why aren’t these stud­ies more evid­ence-based?

LUM: I think it’s always easier – and this is not just in the terror­ism and counter-terror­ism field – but it’s in poli­cing, educa­tion, social science – it’s much easier to fund the study of a phenomenon – like terror­ism, or a disease or kids that are work­ing in school or some­thing like that, as opposed to actu­ally eval­u­at­ing an inter­ven­tion that might be put in place to change some­thing. Some­times people are concerned about the inter­ven­tions them­selves – they don’t want to test it. We see this in the medical field often. You know, will some­body get sick if they become a test subject for a medic­a­tion that’s trying to vaccin­ate against Ebola, for example? So there’s some fear I think, about eval­u­at­ing inter­ven­tions and there’s also risk for organ­iz­a­tions about what you might find when you eval­u­ate an inter­ven­tion. Often we find that inter­ven­tions don’t work. I think tactics and strategies don’t actu­ally lead to impacts that were thought to occur; DARE is a great example, or these boot camps, where millions of dollars were spent on these programs. And after a long period of time we’ve star­ted to do some eval­u­ations and found out some of these programs are not effect­ive. Some­times they back­fire, in that they cause more crime to occur. The find­ings of science are always risky for organ­iz­a­tions in some ways. And it takes a lot of money and time and expert­ise to do an eval­u­ation. So that might be one reason why we see more stud­ies on terror­ism than we do on counter-terror­ism. Let me also add that much of the data that we would need, the access that we would need to carry out a highly rigor­ous eval­u­ation, is not there. So it’s very hard to gain secret clear­ance. If you gain secret clear­ance to do eval­u­ations, then you can’t publish your results often.

Q: Which, for an academic, is very import­ant?

LUM: I think academ­ics under­stand the balance between national secur­ity and public­a­tion but there’s a whole area of disagree­ment, I think, between groups – public interest groups, academ­ics, the community, the news, and the govern­ment.

Q: And for a poten­tial reformer in Congress, who wants that report because it shows a policy isn’t work­ing, when the Agency wants it to work…

LUM: That’s right.

Q: …that secrecy can actu­ally harm reform…

LUM: A good example is how police were five decades ago – four decades ago – in the 1970s – I think they were much more suspi­cious of police scient­ists coming in and doing an eval­u­ation. Their concerns were wide-ranging, but one concern was, if we release this eval­u­ation of this inter­ven­tion, maybe people who are commit­ting crime will figure out what we’re doing  in terms of stop­ping it- and that might give away the farm, you know? And I think police have become much more soph­ist­ic­ated about this. They real­ize that because of monet­ary concerns, because they want to know what can reduce crime, they’re trying their hard­est to figure out what’s going to actu­ally be effect­ive and so they’re much more will­ing to listen and to think about science as one option, to help them make decisions.

Q: And some counter-terror­ism meas­ures them­selves are danger­ous. We’re now in a period where we’re re-enter­ing a milit­ary engage­ment in Iraq bomb­ing in Syria. Is there any evid­ence about the effect­ive­ness of that type of milit­ary inter­ven­tion?

LUM: So in terms of counter-terror­ism meas­ures, going back to the system­atic review, there’s one type of counter-terror­ism meas­ure that we’re pretty sure is secure-  we think that it works. And that is, metal detect­ors at airports have been shown to prevent hijack­ings. But other things, we’re not as certain about. A good example is milit­ary oper­a­tions. The research done on milit­ary oper­a­tions – and there’s very little of this – but the research done seems to indic­ate a short-term increase in suicide bomb­ings during a milit­ary oper­a­tion to deal with counter-terror­ism, or perhaps a high-intens­ity police oper­a­tion that seems more milit­ar­istic to deal with terror­ism issues. An increase in suicide bomb­ings tends to occur, but then that drops off again to the levels that had exis­ted before.

Q: Inter­est­ing.

LUM: So there is this imme­di­ate impact of milit­ary oper­a­tions.

Q: …and with the caveat that there’s very little…

LUM: …there’s very little research. And it’s mostly research that looks at trends over time, which is basic­ally is the only thing we can do. And all that inform­a­tion – the data related to those terror­ism incid­ents or suicide bomb­ings – much of it is stuff that we have to collect from news­pa­pers, from public know­ledge of the suicide bomb­ings. The data­bases that are collec­ted on terror­ism incid­ents- I believe the START Center at the Univer­sity of Mary­land has an excel­lent data­base – but a lot of that is not collec­ted by the Govern­ment. It’s collec­ted by private or public entit­ies.

Q: Which is inter­est­ing, I mean you would think that the Govern­ment would have a system so that every­body could work with the same data rather than rely­ing on private entit­ies that might have motiv­a­tions or polit­ical lean­ings that weigh, in what they’re count­ing as terror­ism or not count­ing as terror­ism…

LUM: They might have this – I’m not aware. And it might be inform­a­tion that’s not avail­able to the public.

Q: You mean they might… the govern­ment might actu­ally have…

LUM: That’s right. The reason why I say they might is, there are some publicly avail­able docu­ments that indic­ate for example, data that’s being collec­ted by the airports on things that are happen­ing – and these are not terror­ism incid­ents. These are just every­day crime incid­ents – and so we know these types of things exist, and that they are collec­ted in some way. Whether there’s a terror­ism data­base, I’m unsure.

Q: Right. Why is it import­ant for the Govern­ment to do evid­ence-based research about its counter-terror­ism policies?

LUM: Wow, that’s a great ques­tion. Many, many differ­ent reas­ons. First, we live in a demo­cratic soci­ety. That means the govern­ment is held account­able, not only finan­cially but also philo­soph­ic­ally and polit­ic­ally to the things that it chooses to do. So one of the most import­ant aspects of evid­ence-based crime policy more gener­ally is the sense that there’s a scientific, more object­ive account­ab­il­ity mech­an­ism in place.  The law is very import­ant, citizen input is extremely import­ant [to] demo­cracy; but also facts that are gener­ated object­ively and that are why science is essen­tial in governance in demo­cra­cies. So that’s one reason. Another reason connec­ted to it is simply we need to know what is effect­ive; I think govern­ments – espe­cially our govern­ment – want to do some­thing that helps.

Q: Right.

LUM: They want crime to go down; they want people to be health­ier. There is, I think, a general interest in trying to be reform-minded, and evid­ence-based approaches are meant to help with that process. Third is just purely a finan­cial reason. One thing I tell police chiefs is that if they’re spend­ing thou­sands and thou­sands, if not tens and hundreds of thou­sands of dollars, on some­thing – a tech­no­logy, a deploy­ment option, but it’s actu­ally not giving them any returns. This is a very seri­ous matter for the chiefs in terms of their budgets, right? A good example is invest­ig­at­ive tech­niques. Clear­ance rates in the United States have remained relat­ively stable for many, many years. In terms of homicide, clear­ance rates have declined. So, the clear­ance has gotten worse. For decades now, for a few decades, this despite the fact that we’ve had improve­ments in invest­ig­at­ive tech­niques; tech­no­lo­gies surround­ing invest­ig­a­tions; forensic tech­niques, even just case folder manage­ment and inform­a­tion tech­no­lo­gies to deal with that. And yet we still see this kind of very stable clear­ance rate.

Q: And that’s as homicide rates have gener­ally gone down…

LUM: Yes exactly.

Q: So the rate’s gone down but the clear­ance rate has gone down as well?

LUM: Well the clear­ance rates have been going down even during the increases in homicide. So you’ve had, in the 1980s and early 1990s, you did have still an increase in some crimes and you still have the stabil­ity of the clear­ance rate – or the decline of clear­ance rates in terms of homicide. I believe Charles Well­ford at the Univer­sity of Mary­land is doing some work on this area. But just to make a point…

Q: Sure.

LUM: …that when police or Depart­ment of Home­land Secur­ity or schools are doing some­thing to try to create a better life or a better educa­tion or more safety, they them­selves want to know how their money is being spent. At least in theory that’s how it should work.

Q: Right… great! Let me follow up on that ques­tion a little bit: with the homicide clear­ance rates going down and so much money and resources devoted to intel­li­gence, where state and local law enforce­ment agen­cies are now open­ing fusion centers and parti­cip­at­ing in FBI joint terror­ism task force[s] and being involved in counter-terror­ism – which is well-funded. Is it perhaps appro­pri­ate to look at the viol­ence that’s happen­ing in our Amer­ican communit­ies and perhaps take some of those resources to help solve those prob­lems?

LUM: Wow. Well, I think that… that is a diffi­cult ques­tion, Mike.  First of all, crime in the United States is a pervas­ive prob­lem: viol­ence – we still have people getting shot and killed every single day, robbed on the street, or just getting some­thing stolen from them. Fraud commit­ted on their credit cards or on their bank accounts or retire­ments; so there’s a wide range of crim­inal activ­ity that contin­ues to go on in addi­tion to terror­ism. Those things should always be a prior­ity, just as things like educa­tion and health in the United States should be a prior­ity. The prob­lem with terror­ism – and counter-terror­ism – is that one, people are afraid so they’re afraid that this is going to happen. I remem­ber Septem­ber 11th very well; it’s a very vivid part of my life. So I think there’s an interest in stop­ping it or trying to mitig­ate it some­how. The prob­lem is that it’s a very rare event and in public policy we have to make decisions about how much to spend on certain types of events compared to others. Homicide is a good example of this. Homicide’s actu­ally a very rare event in the United States – relat­ive to other coun­tries it’s not rare. But gener­ally speak­ing, you’re more likely to be victim­ized as with another type of crime than homicide.

Q: Right.

LUM: And yet the amount of resources that go into homicide invest­ig­a­tion are very, very high, precisely because people – it’s some­thing that people are afraid of.

Q: Sure. And it’s a seri­ous crime.

LUM: It’s a very seri­ous crime. And so, when you think about it, there are other kinds of types of crime that can also lead to homicide: shoot­ings, robber­ies with weapons, things like that. Domestic viol­ence is a great example of some­thing that can lead to homicide. So I guess it’s a balance between spend­ing funds on those things that are just every­day prob­lems that we really need to deal with and those that gener­ate a great deal of fear among the Amer­ican public.

Q: And it would seem that’s where scientific research helps, both to under­stand the threat and the nature of it and the rate of it, so that you can reduce the fear where possible, and also make sure that both your crime policy and your counter-terror­ism policy are actu­ally effect­ive.

LUM: Abso­lutely! And research is only one part of this conver­sa­tion. But the point is that we need to be part of the conver­sa­tion. Research hasn’t always been a part of the conver­sa­tion. We haven’t always been at the table in discus­sions of police deploy­ment options or counter-terror­ism meas­ures. And that in and of itself is an import­ant voice that kind of mitig­ates some of these concerns that can just pop up without any facts behind them what­so­ever. And not just that, but the spend­ing of money on inter­ven­tions that don’t work.

Q: And that would seem to be an easy choice to make.  If it does­n’t work, let’s do some­thing else.

LUM: That’s right; or at least… some­times it’s hard to change a police agency. They’re used to doing some­thing that may not be as effect­ive. But the ques­tion then becomes, “How can we adjust the deploy­ment so that we can move towards some­thing that has a better chance of being effect­ive in redu­cing and prevent­ing crime?” And also, “How can we do tactics and strategies that are not going to negat­ively impact our citizenry?” This is a seri­ous issue in the United States. We’re not just concerned about redu­cing crime, we’re also concerned about protect­ing people’s rights and dignity while we’re trying to create safety, so this is import­ant.

Q: And, I think one area that gets a lot of atten­tion because many Amer­ic­ans go through it is the Trans­port­a­tion Secur­ity Agency – the TSA.

LUM: Oh, yes.

Q: And I know that you did a study of TSA proced­ures. What can you tell us about that?

LUM: Well, at George Mason – a group of us just completed actu­ally, a big project that looked at assess­ing TSA’s – one of its programs called the play­book.  This program, much of it is SSI – Secure Sens­it­ive Inform­a­tion.  The actual name of the program is not, which is why I can say it now. But just broadly speak­ing, it’s a secur­ity program in the airports where they’re trying to create an extra layer of secur­ity through preven­tion and situ­ational crime preven­tion and deterrence meas­ures to try to reduce crime, and also the poten­tial for terror­ism and hijack­ing at airports. And we weren’t asked to eval­u­ate the program. We were only asked to assess it in terms of how it’s been carried out and what impact it has had on people who work at airports and those TSA officers who are imple­ment­ing the program. So what we found was that much of their choices in tactics and strategies have been shown by other types of crim­inal justice research to possibly have good effects in terms of prevent­ing crime and disorder. Of course, whether or not they can prevent terror­ism is a whole other ques­tion. But the way they’re imple­ment­ing some of these inter­ven­tions, that is the ques­tion, you know? Does this approach work? And that’s an open ques­tion that is subject to eval­u­ation, which would be the next step, with regards to the TSA. What I appre­ci­ate about the TSA and DHS in this regard is that they were open enough to have a third party – an academic third party come in and take a look at what they were doing and give them feed­back about the program, whether it’s close to things that we know are evid­ence-based.

Q: And in your book, you actu­ally had to redact an awful lot of inform­a­tion.

LUM: Oh, yes!

Q: But even though it’s redac­ted, do you think that the Agency was respons­ive to the find­ings?

LUM: I think that’s to be seen. It’s hard to know – and this goes for the police agen­cies we work with, too. It’s hard to know what the impact of research is on prac­tice. This is actu­ally a whole area of study called Trans­la­tional Crim­in­o­logy that I’m also involved in, where we’re trying to look at how research is used, and whether it’s used, how does it impact prac­tice over time, et cetera.  And this is a really hard one to determ­ine with TSA primar­ily because we’re not privy to a lot of decision-making that’s going on in TSA or DHS. So we don’t know.  We can make some educated guesses when we see things that are happen­ing at TSA but the connec­tion between that and our research is really never known. It’s often hard for an academic, it’s hard to recon­cile because you want to see some result from some­thing that you’ve done. But with social science research more gener­ally, it’s really about, you know, consist­ently keep­ing up with doing eval­u­ations and keep­ing that conver­sa­tion going with poli­cy­makers at the Federal and state level and local levels about the import­ance of specific types of research that could help them in their prac­tices.

Q: And that’s an inter­est­ing thing because when I think of the intel­li­gence community and the intel­li­gence agen­cies – their job is to provide poli­cy­makers with the best avail­able inform­a­tion so that they can imple­ment success­ful policies. And you would think that they would be doing this kind of research. You know, they have $70 billion to work with! And even at the state and local [levels] now, we have these intel­li­gence fusion centers where they could be under­stand­ing what the research is and push­ing that out to the police depart­ments. What do we know about the effect­ive­ness of fusion centers, for example?

LUM: Not much. Fusion centers, joint terror­ism task force and also inter­state task forces – I want to call them inter­agency task forces – those types of approaches have not been eval­u­ated to any great extent at all.  The vast major­ity of eval­u­ations in poli­cing are actu­ally within agency patrol eval­u­ations look­ing at differ­ent types of deploy­ment options and their results in terms of crime control. So, for example, we don’t have any know­ledge about whether inform­a­tion shar­ing leads to marginal increases in crime control, for example; we take a best guess and think inform­a­tion shar­ing’s got to be help­ful – we think about 9/11, for example, and one of the key points that were made from the 9/11 Commis­sion is the lack of inform­a­tion shar­ing. And so we tend to think – or hypo­thes­ize – that it might improve crime preven­tion, terror­ism, counter-terror­ism, et cetera. How much it improves – or in what way it improves – how well we can create an inform­a­tion shar­ing system to create that improve­ment, what are the consequences of that improve­ment with privacy of citizens…

Q: How do we ensure the inform­a­tion we’re shar­ing is accur­ate?

LUM: Right… or safe?

Q: Right…

LUM: …from just hack­ing and so, all of all of these ques­tions are really import­ant when you’re creat­ing policy around inform­a­tion-shar­ing but we just don’t know that, so we just don’t have answers to that. So most of the time, agen­cies are making decisions based on what’s become known as best prac­tices, or consensus-based decision-making processes, where lead­ers will get together and they’ll come up with some consensus about what they think might be the best way to move forward. This is very common in public policy.  The prob­lem with that is that consensus-based approaches are biased towards the indi­vidu­als that are in that room and they might not have all the know­ledge that might give them an altern­at­ive approach to deal­ing with the partic­u­lar prob­lem. So going back to your ques­tion about fusion centers and JTTFs, and inter-agency task forces, these things have been viewed very posit­ively and there’s a lot of money spent in them. However, we’re not clear on how they can oper­ate to improve the outcomes that we’re trying to seek. And that is a seri­ous issue when it comes to the millions and billions of dollars that are being spent on them.

Q: And for all the good reas­ons you gave about proper governance as well.

LUM: Proper governance is import­ant and often with fusion centers. Since 9/11, fusion centers were very, very relev­ant at the begin­ning, right after 9/11, but since then, they’ve had to adapt to, not only the fact that – and I say this knock­ing on wood – but we haven’t really had a major prob­lem with terror­ism since 9/11.  There have been prob­lems, but because of that, they have a lot of resources avail­able to them to deal with other types of prob­lems. So now we have fusion centers that are trying to use their resources in ways to facil­it­ate local poli­cing and you know, how they’re doing that and what they’re doing and whether or not those things are useful, I think there are import­ant ques­tions to ask…

Q: Great! If some­body wanted to learn more about these issues, what would you suggest they read?

LUM: I think there are a number of differ­ent things; for poli­cing, we have a resource on our website that gives a number of differ­ent resources on evid­ence-based poli­cing – what is it? What is the evid­ence? We’ve developed a matrix where we’ve pulled together all the evid­ence on poli­cing and secur­ity into a single place where you can see the hundred and twenty-five stud­ies that we know about that are at least moder­ately rigor­ous, that eval­u­ate poli­cing inter­ven­tions; so that’s a good place to start. There’s a number of centers for evid­ence-based X… you know? Correc­tions,  senten­cing, evid­ence-based policy that I would suggest people go to for those types of resources – just to get a sense of what is evid­ence-based crime policy? I would also suggest if you’re inter­ested in counter-terror­ism in partic­u­lar that you look at the evid­ence-based counter-terror­ism book that Les Kennedy and I edited. There are a number of schol­ars in that book who contrib­ute on differ­ent areas of counter-terror­ism policy that might be of interest to poli­cy­makers. And I would also suggest look­ing at the START Center’s website as well; they are at the fore­front of gener­at­ing research on terror­ism and also touch upon some counter-terror­ism issues so they’d be a good resource.

Q: Terrific! Is there anything I forgot to ask you or that you’d want to make sure we get?

LUM: I guess in clos­ing I would say that evid­ence-based crime policy is a diffi­cult venture for any organ­iz­a­tion to under­take; why? It often chal­lenges tradi­tional approaches; science does that more gener­ally. It chal­lenges people’s hunches and opin­ions and their person­al…

Q: And tradi­tions…

LUM: And tradi­tions! And personal beliefs about things, and that’s very uncom­fort­able for, not only for large organ­iz­a­tions and their chiefs, but also for people – citizens – who are at the receiv­ing end of some of these inter­ven­tions who might not under­stand why a policy is being changed – why is a police officer being taken from my community and being put over in that community, you know? And a police chief should take the time – just as some­body in DHS or TSA – should take the time to explain to the community why are we doing this? What is the reason behind chan­ging our approach? What does science say? I think public safety agen­cies can play an import­ant role in educat­ing the public about the research that’s avail­able. And that all of those things – in addi­tion to just paying more atten­tion to science – are really import­ant in this evid­ence-based crime policy arena. It’s import­ant for finan­cial reas­ons and it’s import­ant for governance reas­ons.

Q: Great! Well, I appre­ci­ate your work. Thanks very much for being with me today.

LUM: Sure … anytime.