Scott Wolfe

Scott  Wolfe
  • Professor | Associate Director | Director of PhD Program
  • School of Criminal Justice
  • PhD 2012, Arizona State University
  • MA 2008, University of Louisville
  • BA 2006, Ohio Northern University


Curriculum Vitae

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Research Gate


Scott Wolfe is a Professor, Associate Director, and Director of the PhD Program in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. He also is Director of the Michigan Justice Statistics Center. Scott received his PhD in criminology and criminal justice from Arizona State University. His research focuses on policing, organizational justice, and criminological theory and has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, and Bureau of Justice Statistics. Scott and his team have partnered with the Michigan State Police (MSP) for the past few years to help the agency identify the extent of racial disparity in troopers’ traffic stop behavior. They are currently conducting an experimental evaluation of an intervention developed by MSP to address traffic stop racial disparity. In other current projects, Scott is examining the physiological, psychological, and emotional factors that impact police officers’ decision-making process. His research also examines “what works” in police officer training, the role of organizational justice in producing favorable behaviors and attitudes among police officers, the impact of public criticism on police, the impact of de-policing on crime rates, and the legal socialization process.

Current Research

Scott Wolfe (PI), “Core Capacity and Special Emphasis SAC Projects: Michigan Statistical Analysis Center 2021.” Bureau of Justice Statistics. Amount: $392,371.

This project explores racial and ethic disparities in traffic stops conducted by the Michigan State Police (MSP) with techniques such as the veil-of-darkness methodology. We also used a randomized-controlled trial experiment to evaluate an internal dashboard implemented by MSP to address racial and ethnic disparities in their traffic stops.

Scott Wolfe (PI), Jeff Rojek (Co-PI), “FY 2023 Michigan State Justice Statistics Program.” Bureau of Justice Statistics. Amount: $224,997.

This project has three primary components. First, our team is continuing our partnership with MSP to better understand the nature of disparities in their traffic stops using spatial analytic techniques. Second, we are delivering a training series to MSP analysts that centers on how to conduct racial/ethnic disparity analyses with traffic stop data. Third, we are working with MSP and other law enforcement partners to evaluate the effectiveness of several officer training programs.

Areas of Expertise

  • Police and policing
  • Organizational justice
  • Racial disparities in policing outcomes
  • Police training evaluation

Selected Publications

Carter, Travis,* Scott E. Wolfe, Jed Knode,* and Grace Henry.* (2024). Attempting to reduce traffic stop racial disparities: An experimental evaluation of an internal dashboard intervention. Criminology & Public Policy DOI: 10.1111/1745-9133.12664.

Knode, Jed,* Scott E. Wolfe, & Travis Carter.* (2024). Pulling back the veil of darkness: A proposed roadmap to disentangle racial disparities in traffic stops, a research note. Criminology.

Wolfe, Scott E., Kyle McLean, Geoffrey P. Alpert, & Jeff Rojek. (2024). Us vs. them? The problem of cognitive distortions in policing. Police Quarterly DOI: 10.1177/10986111241234310.

Nix, Justin, Jessie Huff, Scott E. Wolfe, David Pyrooz, and Scott Mourtgos.* (2024). When police pull back: Neighborhood-level effects of de-policing on violent and property crime, a research note. Criminology DOI: 10.1111/1745-9125.12363.

Nam, Y.*, Wolfe, S.E., & Nix, J. (2024). Does procedural justice reduce the harmful effects of perceived ineffectiveness on police legitimacy? Journal of Research in Crime & Delinquency, 61(1), 124-167.

Carter, Travis,* Scott E. Wolfe, Yongjae (David) Nam,* and Spencer Lawson.* (2023). Front porch roll calls: An innovative approach to community-oriented policing in Saginaw, MI. Policing: An International Journal, 46(5/6), 766-779.

Wolfe, S.E., McLean, K., Rojek, J., Alpert, G.P., & Smith, M.R. (2022). Advancing a theory of police officer training motivation and receptivity. Justice Quarterly, 39(1), 201-223.

McLean, K., Wolfe, S.E., Rojek, J., Alpert, G.P., & Smith, M.R. (2020). A randomized-controlled trial of social interaction police training. Criminology & Public Policy, 19, 805-832.

Wolfe, S.E. & Lawson, S.G.* (2020). The organizational justice effect among criminal justice employees: A meta-analysis. Criminology, 58(4), 619-644.

Wolfe, S.E., Rojek, J., McLean, K., & Alpert, G.P. (2020). Advancing social interaction training to reduce the likelihood of officer use of force events. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 687(1), 124-145.