I have to admit I’ve gotten a lot more mileage out of that college arrest list posted on Twitter yesterday than I expected. First, I posted something about it, then I posted something about Jeff Schultz posting about it, then I had a fun give-and-take on Twitter with Schultz about our posts.
And the gift just keeps on giving with this post I found yesterday at a Washington State blog. (Wazzou, as you may recall from the tweet, finished first on the list.) As I noted in my post about it, one thing the list is a little weak on is how it elevates quantity over quality. That’s something Cougcenter jumps all over:
A few examples!
If you’re a Georgia fan, some of that sounds eerily familiar. Although maybe it’s not that eerie when you think about it.
First, if your university is located in a small town where the majority of the residents are college students and the local police readily admit that they take a “proactive” stance toward making arrests for minor infractions committed by that specific population which tends to do more dumb things than the population at large, well, your arrests are naturally going to skew upward.
That is straight out of the Jimmy Williamson playbook. And this sounds pretty familiar, too.
Beyond differences in philosophy of policing, the data relies on comprehensive and accurate reporting on arrests/citations/charges. Not every school has a reporter mining police reports everyday for infractions, and not every school has publications that find all of those infractions newsworthy enough to write about.
Throw in a dollop of “I’m my own man, and no pointy necked administrator’s gonna tell me how to run my department” (or, as Seth Emerson put it, “People forget that one of the first things Greg McGarity did five years ago was meet with UGA police chief Jimmy Williamson. No such deal came out of that, and the arrest rate didn’t go down.”) and there you go.
Speaking of playbooks, I can’t help but wonder if there’s an analogue between small-town constabulary and football coaches who visit other programs during the offseason to pick up insights on how to improve. I can see it now: “Jimmy, we’ve got that false name business down cold, but how did you guys work that no middle name thing so well?” “I hear what you’re saying about emerging from an alley, Jimmy, but I’m having a hard time seeing how it works. Can you diagram the play for me on that white board?” “So you ignored a law by claiming that you didn’t understand how it applied to your department and didn’t seek guidance? Cool! How far can you push that envelope, anyway?”