CSU, Chico News

Political Science Chair to Present Research on Over-Policing

Date: 11-13-2014

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs
Ryan Patten, Chair
Department of Political Science

California State University, Chico political science chair Ryan Patten will present the findings of his recent book, “Hunting for ‘Dirtbags’: Why Cops Over-Police the Poor and Racial Minorities,” at a faculty colloquium on Tuesday, Nov. 18. Hosted by the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, the event begins with a poster session at 5:30 p.m. followed by Patten’s keynote address at 6:15 p.m. Both occur in the Bell Memorial Union Auditorium.

A faculty member in the Department of Political Science since 2007, Patten studies a range of local and national criminal justice policy issues. His book, which he coauthored with Emerson College senior adviser for undergraduate education and former CSU, Chico political science professor Lori Beth Way, includes themes of race, ethnicity, social class, culture, law perceptions and policy.

Patten and Way conducted an ethnographic study to explore how law enforcement officials use their discretionary time on the job. Their research included participant observation and in-depth interviews with police officers in two major United States cities. Providing highly textured insights into police discretion, their work suggests that America’s “tough on crime” approach to justice is more often used to control people deemed undesirable than as an effective strategy for reducing crime.

Patten is an active scholar; in addition to his recent book, he has published six peer-reviewed journal articles since 2013. He has given presentations to criminology societies nationally and internationally, most recently in Budapest, Hungary.

“Hunting for ‘Dirtbags:’ Why Cops Over-Police the Poor and Racial Minorities” was published by Northeastern University Press in Boston in July 2013.

The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences’ Faculty Colloquium Series is an annual event recognizing faculty members who have received national and international accolades for their work. The event is free and open to the public. Learn more about the college at www.csuchico.edu/bss.