Gregory Brown often caused a stir when he arrived on campus in a patrol car. But most students didn’t realize the officer wasn’t at Carleton University on official police business. His pursuits were purely academic.
Near the end of a 28-year policing career, in which Brown worked in front-line patrol, public order policing, narcotics investigations, homicide, major case investigations and more, he completed a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Criminology at the University of Ottawa. A meeting with Carleton Prof. Aaron Doyle in 2011 put him on the path toward a master’s degree in Sociology here.
Brown’s graduate research focused on police use of force. In March 2016, he published an article in the British Journal of Criminology arguing that the contemporary visibility of police, afforded by the widespread adoption of camera-equipped smartphones, has had a deterrent effect on police misconduct.
After completing his master’s in 2013, Brown stayed at Carleton to pursue a PhD. In 2016, he received a US $15,000 Fulbright Scholarship, allowing him to spend nine months at the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Albany, which Brown describes as one of the best criminal justice schools in the world.
His doctoral research focuses on risk-averse policing, sometimes known as de-policing, which is the reduction of community policing and active engagement due to a perceived risk to the well-being of patrol officers. He has travelled to cities across Canada and into New York State, meeting more than 3,600 front-line patrol officers to determine if they have been practising risk-averse policing.
As a result of his travels, Brown built what has been called the largest data set on Canadian policing ever created.
After completing his PhD, Brown hopes to stay in academia so he can continue to pursue research and take up teaching, hopefully at Carleton.
“Once I met Prof. Aaron Doyle, I knew I had to do my graduate research at Carleton,” said Brown. “Many other faculty members have helped me by being supportive and enthusiastic about my research. I love Carleton.”