Session: Law Enforcement and Social Work: Empirical Considerations for Current Debates (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

143 Law Enforcement and Social Work: Empirical Considerations for Current Debates

Friday, January 13, 2023: 3:45 PM-5:15 PM
Hospitality 4 - Room 428, 4th Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Crime and Criminal Justice
Symposium Organizer:
Leah Jacobs, PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Alan Dettlaff, PhD, University of Houston
The relationship between social work and law enforcement has become a topic of national conversation. Policy makers are calling on social workers to work within or alongside police, with hopes social work will make policing more just and effective, less racist and more disability-competent. But rhetoric suggests social workers are conflicted about their relationship to law enforcement, divided on the implications of collaboration for both social work and the communities social workers serve. This symposium presents four papers to inform these directives and debates.

The first paper uses historical content analysis to chronicle the evolution of social work's relationship to law enforcement, as documented in archival records. The second paper brings a contemporary lens to this issue, using a mixed methods approach to understand current social work students' perceptions of collaboration between social work and police. The third paper draws on data from the Fragile Families Study to examine the relationship between police contact, grit, and neighborhood collective efficacy. The final paper deepens our understanding of one specific coping strategy for police contact, presenting survey data on discussions youth have with their parents about navigating police encounters (i.e., "the talk").

The studies in this symposium have important findings. They indicate that there is little historical evidence to suggest that social work-law enforcement cooperation facilitates sustainable, substantive changes in policing practices; social work's next generation generally supports some form of collaboration with police, but struggles to resolve the ethical ambiguities inherent in law enforcement collaboration; increased police contact has negative effects on adolescent resilience, but collective efficacy interventions may offset the harms of policing on youth; and, youth across different racial/ethnic identities prepare for police contact in varying ways, a process that is influenced by invasive forms of police contact. This symposium will further unpack these findings, drawing implications to empirically situate debates on the relationship between social work and law enforcement.dified by on 4-18-2022-->

* noted as presenting author
Cooperation and Conflict: The Paradoxical Relationship between Social Work and Law Enforcement
Leah Jacobs, PhD, University of Pittsburgh; Matthew Bakko, MSW, MA, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Sandra Leotti, PhD, University of Wyoming; Bethany Murray, University of California, Los Angeles; Jennifer Erwin, JD, MSW, PhD, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville; Alex Fixler, MSW, University of Pittsburgh; C. Riley Hostetter, MSW, University of Denver; Stephen Monroe Tomczak, PhD, MSW, Southern Connecticut State University; Elizabeth Allen, PhD, LCSW, University of Saint Joseph; Meg Panichelli, PhD, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Grit, Police Contact, Collective Efficacy, and Youth in Large Urban Areas
Aaron Gottlieb, PhD, University of Chicago; Brenda Mathias, MSSA, University of California, Berkeley; Kalen Flynn, PhD, MSW, MSSP, University of Illinois at Chicago
"the Talk": A Multi-Racial/Ethnic Study of the Impact of Police Encounters on Youth Engagement in Discussions about Preparation for Police Contact
Ashley Jackson, MSW, Washington University in Saint Louis; Betty Wilson, MSW, University of South Carolina; Stephanie Wiley, PhD, Simon Fraser University
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