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.

For the past ten years, the University of Chicago Crime Lab has worked closely with law enforcement agencies across the country to help integrate data analytics into their decisionmaking processes. Data analytics training for crime analysts has been a growing part of our work at the Crime Lab, and we wanted to expand to help law enforcement civilian analysts. Specifically, we began to consider what an ideal professional development event for analysts would look like.

In Fall 2019, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) hosted the National Public Safety Partnership (PSP) Enhancing Crime Analysis Capacity meeting at the University of Chicago Crime Lab (Crime Lab) in Chicago, Illinois.

In 2017, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) provided support to the University of Chicago Crime Lab (Crime Lab) and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) to organize an Early Intervention System (EIS) National Advisory Committee (NAC). An EIS identifies officers in need of assistance early on, allowing supervisors to intervene with the appropriate support in an effort to put the officer on the right trajectory toward a successful career and prevent any adverse outcome that would be harmful to the officer, the department, or the community.

Our nation’s law enforcement officers face unpredictable situations involving cruelty, injury, danger, and risk on a daily basis. Responding to difficult and dangerous people, working long hours and overnight shifts, and other work-related stressors take physical and emotional tolls on officers that can result in obesity, heart attacks, substance abuse, and even suicide.

Over the years, researchers and practitioners have supported the implementation of numerous policing strategies to prevent crime and increase public safety. Some of these strategies proved to be effective in preventing crime and enhancing public safety, while some showed promising outcomes that contributed to community outreach, technology adoption, crime mapping, resource allocation, and data collection. Below, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) has highlighted resources that can help law enforcement decisionmakers build awareness of effective crime reduction and policing strategies.

Prosecutors play a critical role in the criminal justice process by serving as representatives of the federal, state, or local government in adjudicating criminal offenses. Like other components of the criminal justice system, prosecutors pursue justice with the best interests of public safety in mind. Discretion allows prosecutors to determine the appropriate legal response to each case brought before them, which involves reviewing the charges against an individual arrested by the police or deciding whether an individual should be charged with an offense. With this discretion comes great responsibility and high expectations from numerous stakeholders, including the public.

Overview

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), in collaboration with the Center for Court Innovation, administers the National Community Courts Program under BJA’s larger Problem-Solving Justice Initiative. Community courts are neighborhood-focused court programs that combine the power of the community and the justice system to address local problems. 

Across the United States, criminal justice agencies have adopted various types of technology-based tools and processes to support crime prevention, law enforcement, and other aspects of the justice system. This technology adoption has included the use of hard technology, such as closed-circuit television cameras, computers in squad cars, and body-worn cameras, as well as soft technology, such as risk assessment instruments and crime mapping. However, a recent National Institute of Justice study revealed that the capacity for identifying, acquiring, and using technology tools varies both within and across justice agencies, and many jurisdictions still lack a guiding strategy for technology adoption.

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