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.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) offers a wide array of violence reduction information and resources to criminal justice agencies, policymakers, and practitioners, yet many agencies in need of assistance may struggle with navigating available resources and determining the appropriate DOJ points of contact for specific topics. In June 2018, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) launched the DOJ Violence Reduction Response Center (VRRC) to connect state, local, and tribal justice agencies, victims’ groups, and others with crime reduction training and technical assistance (TTA) resources offered by DOJ.

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.

A disproportionate number of people who interact with the criminal justice system are persons with mental health disorders and intellectual and developmental disabilities, often prompting specialized responses from law enforcement and criminal justice agencies. 

Background

In 2016, the city of Chicago, Illinois experienced 768 homicides, representing a nearly 60 percent increase from the previous year. With the recent dramatic increase in violent crime – particularly homicides committed with firearms – Superintendent of Police Eddie Johnson and city leaders recognized the need to enhance their crimefighting strategy.

Assessment

Background

Since 2011, Erie County, New York has experienced a 15 percent decrease in total arrests, part of an overall reduction in violent crime arrest and sentencing rates. However, Erie County officials noticed that its reentry population – defined as adults returning from federal, state, and local correctional agencies – experienced a dramatic increase in parole revocations.

Background

In 2008, the National Institute of Corrections launched the Evidence-Based Decision Making (EBDM) initiative, offering an innovative method for state and local justice policymakers to better use data and research findings to guide decisionmaking across the criminal justice system. The EBDM approach emphasizes interagency collaboration and the development of jurisdictional research-driven decisions and programming to increase efficiency and enhance public safety.

Background

Calls for service involving people with mental illness can be among the most time-consuming and complex types of calls for law enforcement agencies. Police officers are often the first responders to mental health calls, which may require more resources than other calls for service. These calls also necessitate increased awareness of the safety of both responders and people in crisis. To improve the outcomes of interactions between police and people with mental illness, many law enforcement agencies have adopted Police-Mental Health Collaboration (PMHC) programs, which are collaborative partnerships among law enforcement agencies, mental health providers, and community-based organizations. 

Background

Since 2012, Blue Courage, LLC has offered innovative leadership development training to all levels of law enforcement, encouraging integrity, courage, and character while meeting the demands of 21st century policing. The philosophy of Blue Courage motivates law enforcement officers to develop the right mindset and skillset to perform their duties in a manner that also safeguards their own health and wellbeing, such as building resilience and recommitting to the nobility of policing. 

Contributed by the National Public Safety Partnership Team, U.S. Department of Justice.

In 2015, the West Memphis, Arkansas Police Department (WMPD) began working with what is now known as the National Public Safety Partnership (PSP) to develop a violence reduction strategy.

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