Skip To Content

Blaney Hall

Center for Police Innovation and Community Engagement

Building stronger communities through collaboration, cooperation and support.

The Center for Police Innovation and Community Engagement was created as a collaborative partnership between Cedar Crest College, the City of Allentown, PA and the Allentown Police Department.

The original aim of the Center was to evaluate and support police practices, building on a national movement to recognize the benefits of data-driven, research-based outcomes related to the practice of policing in our communities. Through the sharing of data and the development of progressive measurement strategies, the College and city are attempting to implement practices that enhance the quality of life for city residents.

As the Center has progressed, non-police agencies have seen the value in assessing best practices and have engaged the Center for assistance in understanding how their operational patterns could be used to support positive police practices. Policing is a community issue and understanding how governmental, nonprofit and community practices influence policing and the perception of policing is an important step in creating positive community engagement.

New Collaborative Partnership

Master of Science in Crime Science

Crime and Community Mapping Certificate


Kerrie Baker, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology

Scott Hoke, Ph.D., Crime Science Program Director

Crime Mapping Crime Mapping

Police Strategy and Practice

The Center provides police administrators access to the evaluative tools and scholars capable of assisting the advancement of best practices to improve local policing.

This involves evaluating current police practices and developing assessment measures for new police interventions. Evaluating current police practices would allow the department to measure the effectiveness of its strategies in order to maximize community benefit, identify areas for modification and improvement, and create strategies to expand positive outcomes.

Examples would include:

  • Crisis Response Model (CIT, Co-responder, etc.)
  • Identification of community policing initiatives
  • Crime prevention initiatives

Community Outreach

Measuring the outcomes of community outreach allows the department to expand the elements of outreach that work well and engage in new initiatives in areas where need is determined. Although departments recognize the importance of how members of the department engage the community, measuring the effectiveness of that engagement is overlooked.

Examples of this type of work include:

  • Evaluation of citizens police academy
  • Evaluation of police officers in schools
  • Evaluation of community policing initiatives

Police Organization

This allows a department to exam its organizational structure and allows the department to determine if historical operating patterns and systems need to be modified to meet the changing demands of call volume and call distribution. 

Examples of this type of work include:

  • Examination of police patrol designations to determine if patrol areas are designed to match call volumes
  • The development of specialty units to evaluate need and effectiveness

Transferability of Police Interventions

There is an assumption that innovative police programs that find success in one area of the country or city can be easily implemented in any other. What is known about such initiatives is that transferability cannot be assumed. The feasibility of implementation has to be assessed and program structures may have to be modified.

Examples of this type of work include:

  • Literature review and summaries of best practices – includes a review of outcomes and the identification of the essential elements of success
  • Evaluation of implementation preparedness – is the department structured in such a way that allows for the intervention to be easily implemented?


Mayor Ray O'Connell,photo by Hunter Kahn

Ray O'Connell, Former Mayor of Allentown, Pa.

“The City of Allentown, the Allentown Police Department and Cedar Crest College have strong histories of community partnerships, community outreach and an interest in better serving the communities we represent,” says O’Connell. “Each has agreed to enter a partnership and create the Center for Police Innovation and Community Engagement.”

Elizabeth M. Meade

Elizabeth M. Meade, Ph.D., President of Cedar Crest College

“Using our aligned missions and motivated by the current trends in service to the community and higher education, an opportunity exists to address a national imperative that stresses the importance of collaboration, cooperation and support.”

Center Faculty

Kerrie Baker, Ph.D.

Kerrie Baker, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology

Dr. Baker practiced applied psychology for over ten years in private and public organizations before coming to Cedar Crest College. She began her career as an intern and research specialist for Bell Atlantic and then was a management consultant for the Hay Group, a nationally recognized consulting firm. For the next six years, Dr. Baker served as a personnel research psychologist for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in which she gained a broad range of experience in psychology, business and criminal justice.

Read More

She holds a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology and an M.S. in psychology from Old Dominion University. Dr. Baker completed her undergraduate degree in psychology at Pennsylvania State University.


Dr. Baker’s research interests include assessment and program evaluation; the functioning of teams under stressful conditions and the acceptance of non-traditional team members; the unique challenges faced by organizations in hiring and retaining the newest generation of employees; critical issues faced by women in the workplace and the characteristics of women leaders and entrepreneurs.

Scott Hoke, Ph.D.

Scott Hoke, Ph.D.
Crime Science Program Director

Dr. Hoke started his career at Cedar Crest College in 2006 after having served as a practitioner in the criminal justice system for 20 years. Prior to receiving his Ph.D., Dr. Hoke served as an adult probation and parole officer in Northampton County (Pennsylvania) and as a jail administrator at the Northampton County Jail. While an employee of the jail, Dr. Hoke served as an institutional parole officer, deputy warden of treatment, deputy warden of classification and acting warden.

Read More

In addition to his experiences in Northampton County, Dr. Hoke served as a technical consultant for the National Institute of Corrections for 10 years, during which time he specialized in teaching jail administrators and organizations management techniques that were designed to better control inmate behavior. Dr. Hoke worked with over 100 jails during that time, ranging in size from as small as 50 beds to as large as 10,000. Dr. Hoke received his Ph.D. in criminal justice from Temple University. He also has a Master of Arts in public administration from Kutztown University and a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice from Moravian College.


As an academic, Dr. Hoke has focused his research interests in several areas. Early in his career, his research and publications primarily focused on how to control inmate behavior. His research efforts are currently concentrated on the spatial distribution of crime, the evaluation of policing practices and community-centered program evaluation. Dr. Hoke and his students work with police departments across the state to supply analytical and crime mapping services for those that do not have the resources to complete those tasks on their own. In addition, his dedicated work with community-based agencies highlights the College’s commitment to community partnerships.


An assessment of officer attitudes toward the training and use of a pre-booking diversionary program, 2020
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Scott Hoke, Ph.D., Kerrie Baker, Ph.D., Kristen Wenrich, MPH, CPH

Communication Trust Building Program for Law Enforcement and Community, 2017
Lessons learned from the National Coalition Building Institute’s EPIC program for the We Are Mantua! BCJI project.
Scott Hoke, Ph.D., Kerrie Baker, Ph.D.

Epic Program Evaluation Report WAM-BCJI Project, 2017
Summarized findings that relate to the training initiative involving the National Coalition Building Institute, the 16th District of the Philadelphia Police Department and the community members who live in the Mantua section of Philadelphia.
Scott Hoke, Ph.D., Kerrie Baker, Ph.D.