On October 25, 2018, ROLC faculty and staff participated in a luncheon with Jessica Pishko, a Visting Fellow with ROLC, who is working on a project involving the role of sheriffs in the United States. Ms. Pishko has worked as an author and a journalist, focusing on criminal justice issues, including the connection between mass incarceration and county-level politics.
During the luncheon, Ms. Pishko discussed ideas for her project, including plans to gather data to examine issues such as where sheriffs’ power comes from, how they are funded, and how they are regulated. Ultimately, the data she collects will be used to help understand and define the role of a sheriff, understand the scope of their power, and look for variation in practices, including differences between sheriffs in urban and rural communities. Ms. Pishko’s interest in this area was sparked by her experience researching how law enforcement investigated crimes.
After hearing her initial plans for the project, ROLC faculty and staff contributed their own thoughts. Faculty from a variety of academic disciplines engaged Ms. Pishko in a discussion regarding where to look for data, what kind of data should be gathered, and how to organize the data. Ms. Pishko plans to reconvene with ROLC in the Spring to give an overview of her progress and plans.