I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Government Department at Cornell University where I study the politics of law and order, police militarization, civil-military relations, and state-citizen linkages in democracy. My research combines observational data, survey experiments, and a range of qualitative methods. It has appeared in Perspectives on Politics and the British Journal of Political Science. The National Science Foundation, the Roper Center’s Andrew Kohut Fellowship Program, the Social Science Experimentation Unit at CIDE in Mexico, and the Cornell University Graduate School have funded my work.
My dissertation, "Who Wears the Badge? Why Politicians (De)Militarize Policing and Public Safety," examines politician’s decision to see crime as a problem to be deterred through punishment or with the help of the communities they govern. In it, I go beyond conventional research on police militarization which has narrowly focused on the use of military tactics by specialized units, the acquisition of military weapons and equipment by police, and the military’s participation in domestic policing. Instead, I focus on the militarization from within that takes place with the appointment of military members as police chiefs, as well as its subsequent reversal. This project is based on two years of immersive qualitative fieldwork in seven police departments in Mexico, during which I conducted over 300 in-depth interviews with civilian and ex-military police officers, police chiefs, state and municipal employees, and mayors. It also leverages two original data sets on police chief appointments and police-community partnerships.