TTA Today Blog

Welcome to BJA NTTAC's TTA Today blog! TTA Today posts tell the story of training and technical assistance (TTA) engagements through individual perspectives, including those of DOJ and BJA leaders, staff, technical assistance providers, subject matter experts, community members, and other relevant stakeholders. These posts serve as an informal venue to share relevant updates or best practices from the criminal justice community, as well as to feature first-hand accounts of how TTA impacts state, local, and tribal communities across the nation.

According to provisional counts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses – including illicit drugs and prescription opioids – killed more than 72,000 Americans in 2017, a 2-fold increase in 10 years. The devastating impact of the opioid epidemic is felt not just in families, over the loss of lives, but in law enforcement, health care, schools, and virtually every other segment of society. Responding to this epidemic is one of the U.S. Department of Justice’s top priorities.

Criminal justice agencies use risk assessments to assist with the allocation of limited resources to manage and rehabilitate people at various stages of the criminal justice system: from judges using risk assessment to inform decisions about pretrial detention or release, to probation officers using it to calibrate the intensity of supervision and guide assignment to rehabilitative programming. The increasingly widespread and diverse use of risk assessment has given rise to a varied and dispersed body of commentary, research, and best practice guidance.

Det. John Skaggs runs a tight ship at the Los Angeles, California Police Department (LAPD) based on two principles: organization and hustle. Those principles built the foundation of his 30-year career with the LAPD, during which he served as the lead detective on 165 murder investigations and supervised an additional 250. Now nearing retirement, Det. Skaggs has teamed up with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) to share his extensive experience by delivering homicide investigation and violent crime reduction training across the country.

In January 2016, I began to explore where the Chesterfield County, Virginia, and Colonial Heights, Virginia, supervised offender population was living to determine if there were common areas where this group resided.

In 2014, the Tampa, Florida Police Department (TPD) sought to improve and expand the Quality Assurance (QA) program the department had recently put in place. In the years prior, the department had identified areas in need of improvement internally, and then developed and implemented the QA program to address those issues.