I am currently working with Criminology professor, Dr. Linda Merola, and one of her graduate students, Amanda, on a research project relating to privacy and police technology. We are interested in how these technologies have been portrayed in the media. In the beginning, we searched through various online databases for news articles that referenced police technologies such as body cameras and automatic license plate recognition. We then developed several different categories for our content analysis that focus on whether the articles reference the benefits of the technologies, the capabilities of the technologies and concerns that people may have in relation to privacy and other legal rights.
On a weekly basis, I am given articles to code based on the categories mentioned above. I also try to keep up with the newest trends as well as updates on the various police technologies. During my time on this project, I have discovered the implementation and use of more recent police technologies such as the Shotspotter, which detects and locates where a gunshot originated from and the Stingray phone tracker device. I have also learned more about the debate between privacy rights and public safety issues in relation to these technologies. I feel that this project has helped cement my interest in criminal justice-based issues and research in general. I do hope to attend graduate school after I graduate from Mason and I believe this research opportunity gives me the experience and skills that will help me stand out and eventually succeed in the future.