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.

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?

By Kay Chopard Cohen, Executive Director, National District Attorneys Association

Prosecutors are elected by the people to uphold the law and ensure public safety. Advances in technologies – including the implementation of body-worn cameras – are critical achieving this mission.

By C. Edward Banks, Ph.D., Senior Policy Advisor, Bureau of Justice Assistance

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is a national leader in the development and implementation of criminal justice policy and sound grant management. BJA has developed many promising and evidence-based programs to address numerous criminal justice topics in order to achieve safer communities. The agency supports key areas of criminal justice, including adjudication, corrections, counter-terrorism, law enforcement, crime prevention, justice information sharing, justice and mental health, substance abuse, and tribal justice. The Bulletproof Vest Partnership, the Smart Policing Initiative, the Wrongful Conviction Review Program, and Project Safe Neighborhoods are a few examples of the more than 32 policies and programs implemented by BJA in support of local, state, and tribal justice strategies nationwide.


According to the FBI’s 2013 Uniform Crime Report, there were more than 1.5 million drug-related arrests in 2013—including 325 in Alabama—and nearly 100,000 people are currently serving time in federal prison for drug offenses. That statistic alone makes up almost half of the federal prison population.


Imperial County, CA, is a far reach from the densely populated cities and beaches that characterize much of the state. With a total population of nearly 175,000 the southern California county is two hours from the nearest major metropolitan area of San Diego, making it paramount that Imperial County probation officers do all they can to minimize injuries in the field, especially when they are charged with potentially dangerous activities like conducting residential entries and searches and seizures.

By Tara Kunkel, BJA Visiting Fellow and Principal Court Management Consultant, National Center for State Courts

When Joseph Coronato became Ocean County’s (NJ) prosecutor in March 2013, he saw eight opioid overdose fatalities in just seven days. All the victims were 28 years old or younger. Coronato began researching ways to abate the problem and found law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts that had implemented naloxone programs. Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a potentially lifesaving drug that can effectively restore breathing to a victim in the midst of a heroin or other opioid overdose. Because local police officers are often the first to arrive on the scene of these overdoses, they play a critical role in preventing overdose incidents from becoming fatalities by administering naloxone. Coronato resolved to equip Ocean County patrol officers with naloxone, using a policy modeled off those in Massachusetts.

By Sabrina Rhodes, Project Specialist, International Association of Chiefs of Police

Arresting parents of children is common in the day-to-day duties of police officers. These arrests can, and often do, have significant and lasting negative effects on children, whether they witness the arrest or not. When a parent is arrested, children often experience stress, which may develop into psychological trauma. A growing body of research links parental arrest to worse life outcomes for children, including higher risks for alcoholism and drug use; depression and suicide; domestic violence; health-related problems; and criminal behavior. The good news is that by implementing the right strategies, the devastating effects of parental arrests can be minimized.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report, an estimated 11.3 million people were arrested in 2013. Between the time defendants are arrested and they make their initial appearance in court, what should happen to them? Pretrial services offered during this time have the potential to reduce crime while maximizing resources and public safety. That said, the pretrial services a jurisdiction offers, which might include initial screenings, risk assessments, release recommendations, and pretrial supervision, often vary significantly across agencies.

ByJim Parsons, Vice President and Director of Research, Vera Institute of Justice 

Incarcerated persons are three times more likely to experience chronic, acute, and behavioral health problems than the general population.1 These persons have limited access to health care both inside facilities and in the communities to which they are released. A historical lack of coordination between justice and health agencies exacerbates these issues even further. Consequently, people with such problems routinely fail to get the treatment they need. Research shows that incarcerated persons with substance use and mental health needs often find themselves caught in a revolving door of repeated arrest and incarceration, and effective and targeted treatment made possible by information-sharing can address health disparities, reduce costs, and lower recidivism rates. Astrology


According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, at the end of 2013 there were an estimated 4.75 million adults under community supervision. While this was down nearly 30,000 from 2012, it still means an average of one in 51 adults is in such a position. Those high numbers have strained the caseload of community corrections departments, many of which do not have a large number of probation or parole officers.