BGSU professor collects police crime database to improve policing

BGSU professor collects police crime database to improve policing

BOWLING GREEN, OH (WTOL) - A professor at Bowling Green State University just unveiled a new police crime database.

Phil Stinson, a criminal justice professor, is the brains behind the database.

In 2004 he set up 48 google alerts. Every time something in the news came out about a police officer in trouble, he got an e-mail.

"Sometimes people think this is anti-policing, that somehow we are trying to make law enforcement look bad," Stinson said "And we don't look at it that way at all. We are actually interested in improving policing."

From misdemeanor assault, drunk driving and felony assaults are the most common offenses they see, but there is more.

"A very large number of sex crimes, including forcible rape, and drug-related offenses," Stinson said. "So frankly it's every crime you could imagine from disorderly conduct, shop lifting, drunk driving to murder."

Almost 50 students helped with this project over the years. It ranges from 2005 to 2012 and includes more than 8,000 cases.

The database does not list the names of the accused officers. It only lists their age, department and years serving the force.

Stinson says the project is not meant to out police, but rather holding officers accountable.

"The goal is to help improve the quality of life of police officers to help them not get in trouble and to help agencies overall do a better job of more professional policing," Stinson explained.

Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn says he needs to look more in to the database. But he says his department takes offenses like these very seriously in the department.

"If they are going to be charged for something, that's all public information," Sheriff Wasylyshyn said. "Depending on what that criminal charge is they certainly stand to lose their job."

Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp says he supports the database. He thinks officers should be an open book and held to a higher standard.

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