Dr. Jessica Grosholz and Dr. Fawn Ngo.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM professors to study local policing effort

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: April 08, 2016

SARASOTA, Fla. (April 8, 2016) – Sarasota police have asked two criminologists from USF Sarasota-Manatee to evaluate the city’s three-year crackdown on drug dealers.

Drs. Fawn Ngo and Jessica Grosholz have been asked to evaluate the Police Department’s “Drug Market Intervention Program” instituted in 2013 to target street-level dealers that sell drugs on corners.

“This is such a pressing issue because it’s almost a catalyst or seed for so many other social problems, a range of issues from homelessness to violent crime to child neglect and prostitution,” Dr. Grosholz, an assistant professor of criminology at USFSM, said.

The two met Friday with the City Commission’s Independent Police Advisory Panel, which sets police policy, to give a briefing about the crackdown and kind of research they’ll undertake in coming months, including an examination of police records, interviews with law enforcement and a review of similar programs nationally.

Later they’ll present preliminary findings and recommendations before submitting a full report to the Police Department. The two said they aren’t sure how long the study will run, but it’s expected to last several months.

“Partnerships like this between academics and practitioners are important because they allow us to step back and evaluate enforcement practices and procedures and test concepts to see how well and where they succeed,” said Dr. Ngo, an associate professor of criminology.

Sarasota is not paying for the study. After developing preliminary findings, Drs. Ngo and Grosholz said they’ll seek academic grants to fund the remaining work.

Criminology job expo attracting more employers

More employers, from the Manatee Sheriff’s Office to the U.S. Secret Service, are taking part in USF Sarasota-Manatee’s annual Criminology Career Expo.

The event held noon to 2:30 p.m. Thursday attracted 30 employers in mostly law enforcement fields. That’s up from 23 last year.

Dr. Jessica Grosholz said she worked with event sponsor the Criminology Club to attract more non-profit groups and social service agencies to appeal to more USFSM students. About 100 showed up to ask questions, drop off resumes and pick up brochures and business cards.

“We’re mostly here for exposure so people in the community can meet us and ask about what we do,” said Tracie Robinson, an investigative support assistant at the U.S. Secret Service, who set up a booth inside Selby Auditorium.

She added, however, that some students have expressed an interest in possibly working at the agency: “I’ve gotten a few resumes.”

Career Services Coordinator Toni Ripo said the expo launched five years ago after students from the Criminology Club sought her help reaching out to law enforcement employers across the region.

“This event is key to us in meeting our goals to reach out to employers and to fulfill employment needs in the community and the state,” she said.

Week of diversity to kickoff Monday

The Multicultural Affairs Committee will launch USFSM Diversity Week on Monday with “Autism Awareness Month Lunch and Learn,” which is set 12:30 p.m. in the Selby Auditorium.

Other events for the week include a “Fat Tuesday” Mardi Gras-style party and a “Taste of the World” celebration of international cuisine and culture.

Fat Tuesday will commence at 11 a.m. with a cutting of the “King Cake” then shift to a three-hour celebration at 3 p.m. in the rotunda and courtyard. Music, beads, gumbo and more.

The Taste of the World party is set for Wednesday noon to 2 p.m. in the courtyard.

As if she doesn’t already have enough on her plate

USF Sarasota-Manatee business major and upcoming graduate Lauren Henry seemingly can’t sit still.

In addition to final exams and preparing for graduation next month, Henry will dance in a ballet based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “Snow Queen.”

A performer since childhood, Henry is set to appear as lead character Gerta at the Sarasota Opera House’s April 16 performance and at the Venice Performing Arts Center on April 24.

Also featured will be the School of Russian Ballet, choreography by Vadim Fedotov.

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