James Willis

James Willis

James Willis



Police organizations, police reform, police decision making, police technology, punishment in an historical context

Professor Willis' interests include police organizational reform, police discretion, police technology, and penal history.  With colleagues, his current projects include an examination of the effects of body-worn cameras on police organizations, and an assessment of the quality of police decision-making at the street-level.  Along with his co-authors, in 2008 he was awarded the Law and Society Association’s article prize for research that used different theoretical perspectives to explain Compstat’s implementation in three police departments.  In 2011, he was the recipient of a George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award.

Current Research

2018 - present. Principal investigator. Body-Worn Cameras, Organizational Change, and Police Decision-Making: A Case Study. Center for Justice Leadership and Management, George Mason University.

2014 – present. Co-principal investigator (Christopher Koper and Cynthia Lum, P.I.s) Evaluating the Crime Control and Cost-Benefit Effectiveness of License Plate Recognition (LPR) Technology in Patrol and Investigations. National Institute of Justice.

2011-2014.  Faculty researcher (Christopher Koper and Cynthia Lum, P.I.s).  Realizing the Potential of Technology for Policing: A Multi-Site Study of the Social, Organizational, and Behavioral Aspects of Implementing Policing Technologies. National Institute of Justice.

2010-2014.  Co-Principal Investigator (Stephen Mastrofski, P.I.).  Measuring the Craft of Law Enforcement:  What Is Good Policing?  Center for Justice Leadership and Management, George Mason University.

Selected Publications

Willis, James J. and Heather Toronjo. (2019). “Translating Police Research into Policy: Some Implications of the National Academies Report on Proactive Policing for Policymakers and Researchers.” Police Practice and Research: An International Journal.

Koen, C. Marthinus, James J. Willis, and Stephen. D. Mastrofski (2018). "The effects of body-worn cameras on police organisation and practice: a theory-based analysis." Policing: An International Journal of Research and Policy. https://doi.org/10.1080/10439463.2018.1467907

Willis, James J., Christopher Koper, and Cynthia Lum. (2017). “The Adaptation of License Plate Readers for Investigative Purposes: Police Technology and Innovation Re-Invention.” Justice Quarterly http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07418825.2017.1329936

Willis, James J. and Stephen D. Mastrofski (2017). “Understanding the Culture of Craft: Lessons from Two Police Agencies.” Journal of Crime and Justice 40: 84-100.

Mastrofski, Stephen D., Tal Jonathan, Shomron Moyal, and James J. Willis (2016) "Predicting Procedural Justice in Police-Citizen Encounters." Criminal Justice and Behavior 43: 119-39.

Courses Taught

CRIM 100 Introduction to Criminal Justice

CRIM 220 Introduction to Law and Society

CRIM 402 Punishment and Corrections

CRIM 407 Advanced Topics in Law and Society

CRIM 491/492 Administration of Justice Honors Seminar

CRIM 700 Values, Ethics, and Criminal Justice Policy

CRIM 720 Law and Social Science

CRIM 723 Law and Social Control 

Dissertations Supervised

Marthinus C. Koen, On-Set with Body-Worn Cameras in a Police Organization: Structures, Practices, and Technological Frames (2016)

Holly Stevens, Rules, Laws and Conceptions of Justice in Middle School: An Exploratory Study of Children's Legal Consciousness (2013)