Faculty in the VIPR Lab awarded a DHS grant to help law enforcement with screening and hiring

Congratulations to faculty in The VIPR Lab on winning a DHS grant to examine how agencies screen for insider threats!

A team led by NCITE researcher and VIPR Lab Affiliate Erin Kearns recently won a nearly $136,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate to study how police departments screen for and identify insider threats in the hiring process and among active officers.

In addition to Kearns, co-principal investigators on the grant include Drs. Hashimi, Huff, and Nix.

For years, extremist groups in the U.S. have encouraged members to infiltrate law enforcement agencies and the military. Anecdotal examples of insider threats in law enforcement exist, but there is no systematic understanding of whether these incidents are isolated or indicate a more pervasive issue.

The research team aims to answer three questions about law enforcement screening. First, how do law enforcement agencies screen for potential insider threats before and during the hiring process? Next, what information do agencies gather as part of their hiring and screening processes? Third, what policies and procedures do agencies use to mitigate risks?

Answers to these questions will inform recommendations for best practices. Researchers will develop a toolkit for law enforcement agencies to use for self-assessment. This project aims to support law enforcement by offering resources to address this understudied threat. And it aims to empower agencies to be resilient to insider threats.

Justin Nix
Justin Nix
Distinguished Associate Professor

My research centers on policing with emphases on procedural justice, legitimacy, and police shootings.