From Nanjing to New York
The Department of Criminal Justice and Security is pleased to welcome Hunter Zhou, a police officer with the Nanjing (China) Public Security Bureau, as a visiting research scholar. His research work will examine crime prevention and analysis.
After graduating from the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies with a master of law and international relations, Zhou joined the Nanjing Public Security Bureau where he is currently a senior staff member in the branch that engages with foreign nationals.
The Dyson Digital Digest talked with him to learn more.
Q: Tell me more about your research.
A: I wanted to learn the American methods of policing and make the comparison with the Chinese ones and to find out if there are ways that Chinese policing can improve. But, this is very broad, so I narrowed it down to crime prevention analysis. If you understand how to measure and analyze crime, you can measure and prevent it.
Q: Have you found similarities or differences between the police systems?
A: In China the system is different than in the U.S. In China, police officers must have the experience of working at the community, or district, level for one year. The thinking is that without this year of service, you will be out of touch with the common person. So, after I graduated, I went on patrol. I got familiar with the people who live there, greeted them, and asked how things are going. In China, we have this idea that if you need any help, any kind of help, you can call the police. Anything you can imagine. Maybe your ceiling is leaking water and you don’t know what to do. Of course, we might think it odd that a person calls for this reason, but we won’t reject them. We’d go and take a look and offer to call a repair person who could fix it. Our duty is to walk down the street and ask people, ‘how are things are going?’
Q: Are police equipped with firearms?
A: When I was on duty I carried a baton. We don’t have guns and the people aren’t allowed to have them. The police do have access to firearms, but a weapon is not issued to me personally. The weapons are stored securely at the police station, and if there is an emergency situation and we need guns for that mission, we fill out a short application form. We do have a SWAT team and they carry firearms almost all the time - pistols, rifles. They deal with only big emergency cases.
Q: What is your job now?
A: After that year at the district level, I went to the municipal, or city, bureau. The work I do is called foreigner administration. If a foreigner is involved in a crime and we think the case might have the color of diplomacy, my department will get involved. I will translate if the person speaks English, or if not, we’ll find a translator for whatever the language may be. Usually the punishment is not to put the person in jail. We don’t have jail for foreigners. Instead we will send them back to his or her country.
Zhou will be in New York through February 2014. While at Pace, he will participate in “ride-alongs” and observe the workings of several police departments including Croton-on-Hudson, Pleasantville and New York City.