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: Kim Ball, BJA Senior Policy Advisor “One of the coolest ideas I have seen in my eight years in the Bureau of Justice Assistance,” is the first response that comes to mind when asked about my involvement with the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA) Innovations in Criminal Justice Summit. I have seen a lot of great progress and great work over my time, but the unique thing about this event is that I have witnessed its evolution – from an idea that was tossed out during a discussion with colleagues to execution of the second Summit in 2013. When APA Vice-President Steven Jansen conceived the idea for this event, we all knew that it was exactly what we needed to do to encourage those innovative, cost-effective interventions that had demonstrated promise in improving public safety and providing alternatives to incarceration.

Background

Drakontas LLC was founded in 2004 by a group of entrepreneurs and Drexel University researchers in pursuit of the following goal: to build a company that could deliver collaborative software and communications solutions to the government customer. Drakontas brings together a multidisciplinary team of technologists, psychologists, software engineers, and public policy experts to ensure a comprehensive approach to the development and evaluation of its technology solutions

Background

In an effort to expand its information sharing capabilities, the Maine State Police (MSP) sought assistance in implementing an incident reporting process that all law enforcement agencies throughout the state could use. Concurrently, the Cumberland County (Portland) District Attorney and the Maine District Attorneys Technical Services (MEDATS) office sought a technical solution that would allow the county’s law enforcement agencies to electronically refer cases to the district attorney. Through the Maine Justice Information Sharing Architecture Steering Committee (MJISA), Maine justice agencies continually collaborate and coordinate information sharing efforts and technology projects.

By: Eva Bertone McGann, BJA NTTAC On March 18, 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a landmark decision that constituted a critical step forward in our nation’s relentless pursuit of equality and justice for all. The decision made in the case of Gideon v. Wainwright unanimously established the right to counsel for those who could not afford to hire an attorney. Fifty years later, professionals and leaders from across the criminal justice community honored this historical ruling by participating in events such as American University’s 50th Anniversary Symposium or the Department of Justice (DOJ) 50th Anniversary Celebration.

Background

South Dakota boasts 75 police departments and 65 county sheriffs to govern the population of over 824,000 citizens. Within large population jurisdictions in South Dakota, there were highly robust and highly-managed record management systems. However, there also existed very small departments with only one or two officers to cover the entire county. With such a broad population governed by numerous police departments and sheriffs, South Dakota suffered from a number of obstacles to information sharing.

By: Kelly Sullivan, BJA NTTAC Communications Specialist Often when we think of those who risk their lives and wellbeing to protect our safety, it is soldiers, police officers, or firefighters who jump readily to our minds. Albeit brave and deserving of our respect, these are not the only courageous souls who put themselves at risk to protect the public. Corrections officers are the “silent guardians” who have one of the most psychologically, emotionally, and physically taxing jobs out there, all the while receiving little appreciation for their dedication.

Background

The Vera Institute of Justice is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit center for justice policy and practice that conducts projects and reform initiatives, typically in partnership with local, state, or national officials, across the United States and around the world. The Vera Institute combines expertise in research, demonstration projects, and technical assistance to help leaders in government and civil society improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety.

Background

The National Forensic Science and Technology Center (NFSTC) is a training and technical assistance (TTA) provider dedicated to supporting the justice community through the provision of high-quality training, support of innovative programs, and evaluation of the latest technologies. The goal of NFSTC is to provide quality forensic science training that is both relevant and accessible for those who are on the front lines ensuring public safety. In order to promote that mission, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has provided NFSTC with funding for subject matter experts to provide instruction across a broad set of forensic disciplines. The NFSTC 2013 BJA training programs include: Essentials of Crime Scene Investigation (ECSI), Intermediate Crime Scene Investigation (ICSI), DNA Biological Screening for Law Enforcement, and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Awareness for Law Enforcement.

Welcome to TTA Today, the new and official blog of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC). In the weeks and months ahead, through this blog, we will feature first-person accounts of how the assistance provided by NTTAC and its partners impacts state, local, and tribal communities across the nation. These posts will be written by leaders from engaged communities, providers of training and technical assistance (TTA), and policy makers here at BJA.

Background

The Boston Police Department submitted a request to the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) to address the release and reentry of approximately 600 to 1100 inmates, which will occur in the next several months. The release of these inmates comes as a result of the discovery that drug evidence tampering and document and test result falsification may have impacted thousands of cases that were processed at the William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute.

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