Associate Professor of Government Erica De Bruin has been awarded a $192,757 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the causes and consequences of global police militarization-- the process by which police forces come to adopt the weaponry, organizational practices, and accountability structures more typical of military forces.
This award, the second NSF award De Bruin has received since joining Hamilton, will support the establishment of an undergraduate research lab on policing at Hamilton College, starting in fall 2024. The lab will involve students in the research process from beginning to end. Students will help collect data on policing practices across the globe, and then work collaboratively with De Bruin to analyze the data and pursue their own research with it.
The NSF grant will also fund De Bruin's archival research on international police assistance programs during the Cold War at the U.S. National Archives in College Park, Md., as well as a new survey of police officials. The research questions the project will tackle include how militarized policing spread internationally, why it spread in the way that it did, and what the political consequences have been. The project will produce a new global dataset of police militarization, which will be useful for scholars studying policing and crime, repression, counterinsurgency, and civil-military relations.
The findings of the project will have important implications for the use of security sector assistance in foreign aid policies as well as efforts to undertake police reform. This research builds on preliminary work that De Bruin did with Levitt Center Research Groups in 2020 and 2021 with Max Gersch ’23, Alexander Nemeth ’22, Jenny Tran ’22, Huzefah Umer ’21, Nicole Eisenberg ’21, Diana Perez ’21, and Greg Varney ’22.