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DOJ’s Commitment to Increasing Public Safety through Coordinated, Community-driven TTA
By Christina Mariscal, Deputy Project Director, Bureau of Justice Assistance National Training and Technical Assistance Center
In 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the addition of 10 new sites to the National Public Safety Partnership (PSP) program. Participation in PSP offers select cities and their allied criminal justice partners with an unparalleled opportunity to receive coordinated training and technical assistance (TTA) and resources from various law enforcement and programmatic components within DOJ. Each site receives TTA that is responsive to their unique needs and focuses on long-term sustainability. Through PSP, sites receive the resources and support necessary to combat violent crime and enhance public safety for the future.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) is one of several paths that PSP sites receive tailored TTA. BJA NTTAC has developed specialized TTA programs to quickly respond to requests by identifying gaps and needs and providing recommendations in specific topic areas, including:
- Crime Analysis on Demand. This program enhances an agency’s ability to analyze and use data to make informed decisions, respond effectively, and prevent crime. For example, the Nashville, Tennessee PSP site requested technical assistance to develop the technical capacity of eight precinct-level crime analyst for patrol (CAP) officers in the use of geographic information system (GIS) mapping software. The support included creating hot spot maps for high-crime areas, developing an improved understanding of other uses for GIS and crime analysis, and leveraging crime analysis for tactical use. Subject expert Stewart Bruce conducted the technical assistance onsite in Nashville, customizing the TTA using local crime data to meet the needs of the eight CAP officers.
- Prosecution Assessment TTA Program. The Prosecution Assessment TTA Program focuses on assessing the capacity of prosecutors’ offices to prosecute violent crime and identifying the strengths, gaps, and adjustments needed to enhance results. For example, when the Memphis PSP site requested an assessment of their overall operational practices, BJA NTTAC partnered with the Prosecutors’ Center for Excellence to provide an in-depth examination of their existing prosecutorial practices and make recommendations to enable the office to implement best practices within the field.
- Technology Initiatives Assessment TTA Program. The focus of this program is to evaluate an agency’s technical resources and abilities, provide actionable recommendations to enhance their technology-driven initiatives, and train personnel. For example, the Toledo, Ohio PSP site requested assistance with developing its staffing capabilities and identifying strategies to better operationalize various data sources. BJA NTTAC partnered with Maggie Goodrich of LE Innovations, Inc., who conducted an onsite assessment to develop a series of recommendations ranging from general IT support and planning, to patrol and vehicle technology and academy training. Equipped with these strategies, the Toledo PSP site is one step closer to achieving its goal of developing a virtual crime center to help address violent crime in the community.
Increasing public safety is a department-wide effort that encompasses many programs, offices, and projects. BJA NTTAC’s support to the PSP sites is an integral part of DOJ’s commitment to ensuring public safety throughout the country. Although there are certain cities designated to receive support through PSP, the initiative also upholds DOJ’s larger mission of reducing violent crime and making the nation a safer place for everyone. The overarching goal is to decrease violence and increase safety and BJA NTTAC is proud of its role in supporting this mission.
While we have learned so much by working with the PSP cities, you do not have to be a part of the PSP in order to request BJA NTTAC services. We are committed to providing no-cost training and specialized guidance on a wide variety of criminal justice topics, including crime prevention, mental health, and adjudication. We take the time to understand the specific justice-related needs of the agency requesting help and match that need with the right expert to provide the training or specialized guidance.
If you are interested in any of the TTA described above or have other TTA needs, please reach out to BJA NTTAC today!
If your jurisdiction is in need of training or technical assistance related to violence reduction, or if you know of a community that would benefit from this type of assistance, please contact BJA NTTAC at BJANTTAC@ojp.usdoj.gov. You may also contact the Violence Reduction Response Center — DOJ’s one-stop shop for connecting state, local, and tribal justice agencies with the most appropriate violent crime reduction TTA resources available — at ViolenceReduction@usdoj.gov or 1-833-872-5174.
If you are interested in submitting the work of your organization or jurisdiction for consideration in a future blog post or in obtaining information related to a particular topic area, please email us at BJANTTAC@ojp.usdoj.gov.
Points of view or opinions on BJA NTTAC’s TTA Today blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice, BJA, or BJA NTTAC.