On April 26, Straus Fellow Jeffrey Fagan examined the issues surrounding “Profiling and Consent” at the Hoffinger Criminal Justice Forum. The event was moderated by Warren E. Burger Professor of Law James Jacobs, co-director of the Center for Research in Crime and Justice.

“Jeff is a speaker who needs no introduction to any criminology audience anywhere in the country,” said Jacobs, noting wryly that Fagan, an engineer by training, was  “the best 'criminological engineer' currently working on topics like drugs, drug control, juvenile justice, capital punishment, policing, profiling, and stop-and-frisk.” 

Fagan, the director of the Center for Crime, Community and Law at Columbia Law School, began his lecture with a personal anecdote: One morning, while on a bus to work, he saw two police officers stop and question a man walking a dog. After the man presented what seemed to be a license to the officers, they let him go on his way. As the man walked away, the bus driver turned to Fagan and said, “…police, you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them.”  The driver’s comment, Fagan said, “really does summarize the dilemma that we’re in about regulating the police and what we can do to find the sweet spot between discretion and legality, and also try to figure out how to use instruments of law when we move outside those boundaries of legality to bring policing back in.”

Watch the full video of the event (1 hr, 28 min):


Posted May 11, 2011