Published July 20, 2021

Photo courtesy of New Jersey State Police

Steps toward meaningful change in police culture. Assessing the most dangerous version yet of the coronavirus. And how a Rutgers-developed algorithm could help fight addiction.

Two Rutgers centers and the Washington, D.C., police department are jumping head first into law enforcement reform with an international initiative to rethink and reshape police training. NJ Spotlight reports that a new group, comprising the Eagleton Institute of Politics and the Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience, recently convened in New Brunswick with a three-day training session attended by top police academy leaders. “It is essential that police conduct on every scale inspires public confidence,” says John Farmer Jr., director of both the Miller Center and the Eagleton Institute. Many in law enforcement, he adds, are focused on “restoring public trust as a mission-critical enterprise.”

NJ Spotlight | Reform police by reforming their training, new group says

NJ 101.5 reports on the rapid spread of the Delta COVID-19 variant, quoting Martin Blaser, professor of medicine and pathology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “It is concerning because the virus has continued to evolve to forms that have become increasingly more transmissible,” says Blaser, emphasizing that the pandemic is not over and that mask-wearing is still advisable in public. “This virus is not going away. The only way we can make it go away is if enough people get vaccinated so that the virus has nowhere to go.”

NJ 101.5 | As Delta variant spreads, should New Jerseyans mask up again?

David Robinson, New Jersey’s state climatologist and a distinguished professor at Rutgers, talks about why the weather in New Jersey has been especially humid and rainy this month. Robinson explains that warm air has been pushing up the coast from the south, causing humidity and storms. “It’s all part of the way the atmospheric flow pattern has set up across the middle latitudes of the Western Hemisphere,” Robinson tells the New Jersey Herald. “It just depends on what direction the import is coming from, and lately it’s been a southerly flow, and that has brought moisture and it’s brought warmth.”

New Jersey Herald | NJ has been a humid, wet mess all July. Is the sun ever coming back?

Researchers at the Rutgers School of Health Professions are creating an algorithm that could help decrease relapse rates for people seeking treatment for opioid abuse. Suchismita Ray GSN’00, an associate professor in the Department of Health Informatics, says that the research aims to find discrepancies in individuals’ recovery from opioid abuse, since many relapse within months after finishing treatment. “Actually, the patient may not know that he or she needs more treatment. So this is where our algorithm plays an important role,” Ray tells NJ 101.5.

NJ 101.5 | Rutgers study could ID shortcomings in prescription opioid abuse treatment

In a Public Seminar essay about social media and higher education, Arlene Stein, a distinguished professor of sociology at Rutgers, argues that some aspects of our shared digital dialogue have changed academic culture for the worse. “Social media puts a premium on the well-constructed snark,” writes Stein. “Taking someone down is the goal. The ability to toss off an attack without immediate consequences has created an environment that is less like academic criticism than a hit-and-run blood sport.”

Public Seminar | Social media has changed academic culture—for the worse

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