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.

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.

“What do you mean grant writing is the easiest part?” I was recently asked by one of my clients, who had just spent months moving bureaucratic mountains trying to get his city to approve the hiring of a grant writer. I repeated my initial statement, but this time added, “it’s figuring out what you want to buy that is difficult.”

The intimidation of victims and witnesses may hinder investigation and prosecution of criminal cases by denying police and prosecutors access to critical evidence and therefore, undermining the function of the justice system. To address this challenge requires the involvement of professionals from across the justice system who may come into contact with victims or witnesses who may be vulnerable to intimidation. The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is supporting multiple efforts to foster a collaborative approach to examining the issue of victim and witness intimidation, and providing a range of resources and strategies for both criminal justice practitioners and community members.

Background

The right to a speedy trial is one of the most basic guarantees of the U.S. Constitution, yet a host of variables can interfere with efficient courtroom proceedings. The practice of caseflow management helps to mitigate these variables – coordinating court processes and resources so that cases progress in a timely fashion from filing to disposition (i.e., sentencing or final settlement). Caseflow management best practices require an active effort by both judges and court managers to establish appropriate expectations, use tools to monitor actual performance against expectations, and ensure accountability for addressing issues.

When I started at the San Diego (CA) Police Department in crime analysis, the only technical assistance that was provided was by the people I was fortunate enough to work with – other analysts and police officers, as well as the researchers with whom we partnered. Here we are, 24 years later and crime analysis as a field has evolved enormously, as has the amount and types of training and technical assistance (TTA) available. Crime analysis helps law enforcement agencies enhance their capabilities to analyze and use data to make informed decisions and prevent crime.

Background

Across the United States, many prison populations are at all-time high levels, leading to significant overcrowding. In 2014, approximately 2.2 million people were incarcerated in federal, state, and local prisons and jails – a rate of 1 out of every 111 adults. At the same time, 40 percent of people leaving prison return within three years.* This comes at a huge cost for states. Over the last 25 years, state corrections expenditures have increased exponentially – from $12 billion in 1988 to more than $55 billion estimated for 2014. In the face of skyrocketing corrections costs, states are searching for practical, evidence-based solutions to help reduce incarceration and recidivism rates and, ultimately, save money.

As one of the first cities in the country selected for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Violence Reduction Network (VRN), Richmond, CA has faced ongoing challenges related to increasing community trust and public safety. One of the cornerstones of the Richmond Police Department’s (RPD) violence reduction strategy is ensuring officers maximize opportunities during every community interaction to build positive rapport, deescalate conflict, and minimize the use of force.

Background

Gary, IN was founded in 1906 as an industrial city focused on steel production. By 1960, the city’s population stood at 178,000 and U.S. Steel – then the city’s largest employer – boasted a 25,000-person workforce.* Gary was also made popular by the 1962 musical, The Music Man. However, Gary’s fortunes changed with new technological advances and the rise of low-cost foreign competition.

Background

As referenced by President Barack Obama in his speech on U.S. incarceration rates, a 2013 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics notes that the United States spent over $80 billion on corrections expenditures in 2010. More than 90 percent of these expenditures occurred at the state and local levels. Because of those large expenditures, many places have begun reducing prison capacity. In 2013, approximately six states closed or considered closing a few of their correctional facilities. But what are they supposed to do with these vacated buildings? How could they repurpose the facilities in an economically sustainable manner?

By Chief Sean Whent, Oakland (CA) Police Department Police Chief

Imagine your agency has experienced an officer-involved shooting and social media is full of damaging misinformation. A line such as “The man was unarmed and surrendering when he was viciously executed by the police,” can be incredibly damaging, even if it is not true.

What would it be worth to you to have the actual incident captured on video?

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