By Gregory Joy
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), a component of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, serves as a national leader in developing, supporting, and implementing effective criminal justice policies and programs. To further this goal and its overall mission, BJA has implemented a strategic plan to help focus and direct the programs and initiatives that it supports. BJA sees its efforts to develop, support, and implement effective crime analysis within the criminal justice field as an essential component of implementing the major focus areas identified within its strategic plan. In furtherance of these efforts, BJA currently funds a number of programs that support crime analysis. The following are just a few representations of those programs.
Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR) – Building a Nationwide Crime Analysis Capability Training and Technical Assistance Award: Under the program supported by this award, IIR is working to identify, assess, and leverage best practices and lessons learned for existing crime analysis centers in order to develop standards and strategies that can be replicated within law enforcement agencies across the nation. IIR has already completed extensive outreach to law enforcement agencies and conducted a limited number of site visits to representative agencies, where it has viewed operations and related crime analysis programs.
IIR recently issued a request for funding proposal to support a limited number of sites where subject matter experts (SME) will work to develop and enhance crime analysis capabilities. From the strategies, trainings, and technical assistance that are developed and implemented within each site, IIR intends to compile a comprehensive implementation guide and toolkit that can be used by law enforcement agencies seeking to enhance their own crime analysis capacity.
National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) – Crime Analysis on Demand: Under this program, BJA’s NTTAC offers training and technical assistance support to law enforcement agencies that are seeking to enhance their existing capabilities and capacity to analyze and use data. This program has tasked a number of service providers with delivering high-quality services and products that address the existing gaps in analytical capacity and related crime analysis needs of the applying law enforcement organizations.
For the initial funding period, NTTAC’s Crime Analysis on Demand is seeking to complete 15 onsite engagements. During these engagements, the service providers will perform a range of functions at each selected site, including providing a needs assessment to better identify the analytical gaps, presenting formal recommendations for corrective actions, and providing training and technical assistance that will incorporate promising models and evidence-based practices. At the conclusion of each engagement, the SMEs will document the outcomes for their training and technical assistance efforts, and these lessons learned will help to inform future engagements. Agencies interested in applying for assistance from NTTAC’s Crime Analysis on Demand should visit www.bjatraining.org for information on how to apply.
BJA Visiting Fellows Award to the University of Maryland: Under this award, BJA has engaged Dr. Laura Wyckoff, PhD, as a visiting fellow within BJA to focus on assisting BJA with building crime analysis capacity within police agencies across the nation. Dr. Wyckoff brings a wealth of expertise and experience in working with law enforcement agencies to improve their crime analysis capabilities, engage them in problem solving, and help them to increase accountability. This has often involved hands-on assistance working directly with police command staff, line-level officers, and crime analysts housed within these agencies.
Dr. Wyckoff’s fellowship is focusing on the following main goals. She is working to identify and produce case studies of agencies that can serve as models for the application and integration of crime analysis. Dr. Wyckoff is also addressing an apparent need within the field by developing a presentation geared specifically toward educating local government leaders about the importance of crime analysis for crime reduction, operations, efficiencies, and decision making. Dr. Wyckoff has already provided extensive support to NTTAC’s Crime Analysis on Demand program in support of the field and is actively providing crime analysis expertise and guidance to law enforcement agencies and other related BJA initiatives. Finally, Dr. Wyckoff is working to disseminate the lessons learned under this project to both practitioners and academics.
The following two awards were made in Fiscal Year 2014 under BJA’s Law Enforcement: National Training and Technical Assistance –Increasing Analytical Capacity: Training for the Law Enforcement Executive award. The two recipients of this funding will equip BJA to more broadly support the field. They are the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST) Award and the Police Foundation/International Association of Crime Analysts partnership Award.
International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST) Award: Under this program, IADLEST is working to address gaps that exist between data and analysis, analysis and response, response and evaluation, and what law enforcement leaders want, what operational units need, and what analysis can actually provide.
Specifically, IADLEST will bring together a team of SMEs to moderate workshops addressing this issue. The SMEs plan to conduct 10 such workshops, produce a workbook for the field, and host webinars—all designed to enhance the capacity of law enforcement agencies on a national basis. The first workshop took place July 10-11, 2014, in Camden, NJ. For additional information, please contact Ms. Yvonne Pfeifer at (208) 288-5491 or Yvonne@iadlest.org.
Police Foundation Award: Similarly, BJA has awarded funding to a partnership between the Police Foundation and International Association of Crime Analysts (IACA) to disseminate to law enforcement executives the importance of crime analysis practices within evidence-based policing strategies. The Police Foundation and IACA are developing and delivering 1-day regional crime analysis symposiums and a number of webcasts. The initiative will also assist two leadership academies integrate this curriculum into their regular training sessions. Finally, the initiative partners will deliver presentations at national-level conferences.
The first regional symposium titled “Advancing Policing through Innovation and Science: A Crime Analysis Symposium for Law Enforcement Leaders” took place on July 16th in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Executives who would like to attend future symposiums should contact Adam Kaufman at 202-833-1460 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
These programs represent only part of BJA’s efforts to actively support crime analysis on a national level. BJA’s goal to proactively support efforts to enhance crime analysis within the criminal justice field continues to be a priority, and BJA will continue to dedicate resources and seek new opportunities to reduce the existing gaps and support the development and implementation of crime analysis and other best practices that are based on and informed by evidence.