Scott M. Mourtgos is an incoming (Fall 2024) Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina. His applied research focuses on policing and criminal justice policy. In particular, he is interested in public perceptions of police use-of-force, crime deterrence policies, police personnel issues, and the application of Bayesian statistics in criminal justice research. He has over twenty peer-reviewed publications on these and related topics, and his work has been published in the top general interest journals of both criminal justice and public administration, including Criminology, Justice Quarterly, and Public Administration Review. He is committed to the goal of marrying police practice and high-quality scientific evidence, an aim that is supported by his appointment as a 2020 NIJ LEADS Scholar. He also serves on the Research Advisory Board for the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), is an affiliate of the Police Staffing Observatory at Michigan State University, and serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Criminal Justice and Police Practice & Research: An International Journal.
His public-facing communication has appeared in multiple written, radio, and podcast outlets. He is a past doctoral fellow of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (2022), and an FBI National Academy graduate (Session 280), having served in various capacities in policing for two decades, including as a police executive.
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For inquiries, please contact Scott at email@example.com.
PhD Political Science, 2024
University of Utah
MA in Forensic Psychology, 2016
University of North Dakota
BSc in Criminal Justice, 2004
Weber State University
Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice Education, 2021
University of Virigina
Using archival police academy photographs, we use a two-phase experiment to evaluate the impact of facial traits on future promotional success. First, respondents (n=507) view randomly selected photographs of cadets (observations=15,669) and evaluate them for facial traits and perceived leadership ability. Second, respondents are presented with random dyads of differentially promoted recruits, and choose one based on the highest perceived leadership ability. We compare those leadership evaluations to the subsequent promotional success of the cadets featured in the photographs (observations=5739). We employ Bayesian multilevel modeling throughout both phases. Facial traits are the primary driver of subject perceptions of leadership ability, and those perceptions successfully predict promotional success later in the cadets’ careers. When selecting for leadership potential based on police cadet photographs, respondents predict correct promotional choices at levels well above chance as measured by an AUC score of .70. Further, respondents’ evaluations successfully discriminate both between no promotion and lieutenant promotion, and sergeant versus lieutenant promotions.