Episode 196 | Just Alternatives to Traditional Law Enforcement ResponsesJaclynn McKay
Original Release Date: March 11, 2022
In episode two of our Community Relations season, Just Science sat down with Lieutenant Renae Lockhart and Azalea Garza-Orozco with the ACORNS Unit at the Raleigh Police Department, as well as Brian Aagaard, a research analyst at RTI’s Applied Justice Research Division, to discuss alternative responses to traditional law enforcement.
Instances of police brutality combined with an increased awareness of the importance of mental healthcare has spurred a robust discussion around what emergency calls demand traditional police responses. Some lawmakers and activists have called for social workers to respond to mental health and quality of life concerns, while others support a joint response between police officers and social workers. Even still, some remain skeptical that deploying social workers at all would be an effective strategy. Listen along as Renae, Azalea, and Brian discuss their backgrounds in community safety, their roles in Cohort of Cities and ACORNS, and their unique perspectives on evaluating alternative responses to emergency calls on this episode of Just Science.
Lieutenant Renae Lockhart joined the Raleigh Police Department in 2002 after obtaining a Bachelor of Social Work degree from North Carolina State University. She has worked as a patrol officer, domestic violence officer, training officer, patrol supervisor, and youth programs supervisor. Renae earned a Master of Social Work degree from NC State University in 2011. She currently serves as the Addressing Crises through Outreach, Referrals, Networking and Services (ACORNS) Lieutenant after previously being selected as the ACORNS Sergeant.
Azalea Garza-Orozco joined the Raleigh Police Department’s ACORNS unit in August of 2021. She graduated with degrees Criminal Justice and Political Science from North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC. Azalea has worked for various nonprofits in the Triangle community. Prior to joining the ACORNS Unit, Azalea worked at Oak City Cares in Raleigh, NC as a care coordinator. She also serves as a housing navigation expert and bilingual social worker on ACORNS. She also serves as a CPI instructor for the Raleigh Police Department.
Brian Aagaard, a member of our Policing Research Program, has extensive experience as a crime and intelligence analyst. Mr. Aagaard worked with law enforcement at the local, county, state, and federal levels for more than a decade. His areas of expertise include the collection, management, and analysis of law enforcement data. Mr. Aagaard’s current work focuses on the intersection of policing, technology, and analysis. He is particularly interested in the dynamics of law enforcement-community interactions, specifically during routine encounters such as traffic stops. Prior to joining RTI, Mr. Aagaard worked as an analyst at the Onondaga Crime Analysis Center in New York State, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Intelligence Unit, and the City of Durham (North Carolina) Police Department. He is a member of the International Association of Crime Analysts and became an IACA certified law enforcement analyst in 2013. View RTI Profile here.