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Mothering a Book: Recollections of a WSU Author

Melanie-Angela Neuilly
Neuilly

In her 2019 edited book Mothering From the Field: The Impact of Motherhood on Site-Based Research, WSU criminal justice associate professor Melanie-Angela Neuilly collected the experiences of academic researchers and mothers conducting their fieldwork while raising children. Neuilly’s own experience of juggling site work and motherhood in Nice, France, in 2014 is also chronicled.

Neuilly said she came to the book somewhat circuitously: In 2013, she obtained a WSU Seed Grant to conduct ethnographic field observations at a medico-legal institute in Nice. However, Neuilly was obtaining her green card then, and in the midst of a somewhat risky pregnancy. She got a no-cost extension on the grant and conducted her research in the summer of 2014, with her 3-month-old daughter and husband.

Neuilly’s book also includes two other WSU voices: Lindsay Marco, a doctoral student in counseling psychology, and Kimberly Garland-Campbell, a geneticist in wheat breeding in the USDA-ARS Wheat Health, Genetics and Quality Research Unit.

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WSU Insider

Investigation into body cameras finds nagging challenges for UK police

An Engineering & Technology investigation finds gaps in research on the benefits of police body-worn cameras, as well as shortcomings in the reporting of complaints against officers wearing them.

David Makin.
Makin

David Makin, an associate professor and director of the Complex Social Interactions Lab at Washington State University, argues police forces may have the ability to purchase body-worn cameras yet few have the infrastructure to analyse the footage. If footage is not analysed, its value is limited: “Failure to integrate the technology into organisational practice will relegate it to a cost expenditure and not a cost benefit.”

Makin mentions another area of concern in the United States: the involvement of private companies. “There’s also a move towards having private companies taking over some of the administrative tasks, including providing redaction, transcription, and generally managing the data.” Trusting private companies with sensitive material can backfire, especially if it is not encrypted and held securely.

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Engineering & Technology

Native American drivers are more likely to be searched by Washington State Patrol

While the searches occur at five times the rate for white drivers, they are less likely to turn up drugs or other contraband.

Twelve years ago, WSU academic researchers in sociology, political science, and criminal justice and criminology working with the Washington State Patrol raised a warning flag: Troopers were searching drivers from minority communities, particularly Native Americans, at a much higher rate than whites. They recommended additional study.

That was the last time the State Patrol conducted a substantive analysis of the race and ethnicity of drivers searched by troopers. Meanwhile, troopers continued to search Native Americans at a rate much higher — more than five times — than that of whites, an analysis by InvestigateWest shows. The State Patrol also continued conducting searches at an elevated rate for Blacks, Latinos and Pacific Islanders.

And yet when troopers did decide to search white motorists, they were more likely to find drugs or other contraband, records show.

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Crosscut
The Spokesman-Review

What happened to crime under Washington’s legal marijuana?

Here’s the situation: An officer pulls over a driver. They are suspicious that the driver is impaired and they have a DUI on their hands. Specifically, a marijuana DUI.

But proving this is not as simple as breath test, or asking if their names are Cheech, Chong, or Lebowski. Washington state has a 5 nanogram limit, which is determined through a blood test. It’s similar to blowing a .08 on a breath test for alcohol.

Dale Willits.
Willits

“We mostly interviewed law enforcement officers, but we also interviewed prosecutors throughout the state,” said Washington State University Professor Dale Willits. “Some of them, not all of them, but some of them express dismay at the nanogram limit, because now they will go to trial and juries will expect to see this 5 nanogram blood test. But blood tests aren’t ordered for each DUI stop.”

Not only that, there is a time limit to the test. If a driver refuses to take one, then the cops have to wait for a judge to issue a warrant, and then there’s the trip to the hospital for the blood draw. It all takes time, during which the level of marijuana in the driver’s blood can go down. And who knows if it was high enough for a conviction earlier?

This is why there is a looming snafu with Washington’s DUI laws when it comes to marijuana. Willits uncovered the issue during a study for WSU, which largely looked at crime rates under legal marijuana.

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MyNorthwest

Study finds minimal effect on major crime from legal marijuana sales

Legalizing recreational marijuana has had minimal effect on violent or property crime rates in Washington and Colorado, a WSU study funded by the National Institute of Justice has found.

Dale Willits.
Willits

“As the nationwide debate about legalization, the federal classification of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act, and the consequences of legalization for crime continues, it is essential to center that discussion on studies that use contextualized and robust research designs with as few limitations as possible,” Dale W. Willits, an assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology at WSU and a study co-authortold the Crime & Justice Research Alliance“This is but one study and legalization of marijuana is still relatively new, but by replicating our findings, policymakers can answer the question of how legalization affects crime.” 

Previous studies have reported mixed and inconclusive results. But the new research, published today in the journal Justice Quarterlyuses what are described as more rigorous methods in the evaluation of monthly crime rates as compiled in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports from 1999 to 2016. 

The researchers focused on Washington and Colorado, the first two states in the nation to legalize the growing, processing and commercial sale of cannabis for recreational use, and compared monthly crime rates to those in 21 states where recreational and medicinal marijuana use remains illegal. 

The study found no statistically significant long-term effects of recreational cannabis laws, or the initiation of legal retail sales, on violent or property crime rates in either state, though Washington saw a decline in burglary rates. The findings suggest legalization and sales of marijuana have had minimal effect on major crimes in both states. 

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WSU Insider
Newsweek
Spokesman-Review
The Press of Atlantic City
Post Register
Before It’s News
SciTech Daily
Phys.org
Inlander
Seattle Times
Spokesman-Review
The Daily World