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BJA's Justice Today
October 2015   
In the Spotlight

Five Cities Join the Violence Reduction Network

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that five new cities will join the Violence Reduction Network (VRN). The announcement was made on September 28, 2015 by Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates and Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason of DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) during the 2nd Annual VRN Summit. The new VRN cities are Little Rock, Arkansas; West Memphis, Arkansas; Compton, California; Flint, Michigan; and Newark, New Jersey.

VRN Announcement

Through VRN, DOJ leverages existing resources to deliver strategic, intensive training and technical assistance (TTA) to reduce violence in some of the country’s most violent cities. A recent catalog, titled Violence Reduction Training and Technical Assistance Catalog, provides information on TTA opportunities available from BJA and other DOJ agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the United States Marshals Service (USMS); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); the Executive Office of the United States Attorneys; the Community Oriented Policing Services Office; and the Office on Violence Against Women.

Another VRN city, Wilmington, Delaware, has historically struggled with a high violent crime rate and, like many cities, is constrained by limited resources. As a VRN site, Wilmington is recieving strategic, intensive TTA in an “all-hands” effort to address these issues. Learn more about the coordinated TTA approach for Wilmington in the TTA Spotlight article, “Improving Community-Police Relations and Analyzing Crime Data as Part of the Violence Reduction Network,” from BJA’s National Training and Technical Assistance Center (BJA NTTAC).

Learn more about this program at the BJA-funded VRN website.

News You Can Use

International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Conference
International Association of Chiefs of Police LogoBJA Director Denise O’Donnell, Deputy Directors Kristen Mahoney and Tracey Trautman, and BJA staff participated in the 122nd IACP Annual Conference and Exposition on October 24–27 in Chicago, Illinois. Director O’Donnell moderated a panel titled “De-Escalation: Reducing Liability and Increasing Safety.” Other presentations by BJA policy advisors included “Ending Modern-Day Slavery: Best Practices for Law Enforcement in the Fight Against Human Trafficking,” “The Role of Law Enforcement in Drug Overdose Prevention and Community Safety,” “Addressing Elder Abuse in Your Community,” and “Are You Implementing a Body-Worn Camera Program? No Need To Do It Alone.” See next month’s issue of Justice Today for details on these and other presentations.


From Prison to a Place for Help
Many states have begun reducing prison capacity, and in 2013 six states closed or considered closing a few of their correctional facilities. Some states are exploring how to repurpose these vacated buildings to benefit local communities. In New York, the Osborne Association is receiving assistance from BJA NTTAC and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to plan for the redevelopment of the Fulton Correctional Facility. Through its work with LISC and the community, the Osborne Association is creating a sustainable reentry program. Learn more about this project in the TTA Spotlight article, “From a Prison to a Place for Help,” from BJA NTTAC.

Podcast Series Launched as New Resource to the Body-Worn Camera Toolkit
Body Worn Camera ToolkitBJA launched a body-worn camera podcast series as part of the Body-Worn Camera Toolkit’s ongoing commitment to providing organizations, agencies, and communities with information on implementation of law enforcement-issued body-worn cameras. This podcast series provides insight from industry leaders who share their expertise on research, program implementation, policy formation, and other areas. This series is designed to aid in decisionmaking and program implementation for organizations, agencies, and communities considering adopting body-worn cameras. Episodes are available for streaming and downloading through the BJA website and iTunes (click here for more information). Register for more information on future episodes, the toolkit, and other BJA information.

VERA Institute

BJA Senior Policy Advisor Tom Talbot and the PREA Field Training Audit team in Lafayette, Louisiana

BJA's PREA Auditor Field Training Program
BJA and the PREA Resource Center created and implemented the PREA Auditor Field Training Program (FTP) to augment the mandatory 40 hours of training for certified auditors. Certified auditors assess compliance with the National Prison Rape Elimination Act Standards in confinement facilities across the nation. The FTP provides DOJ-certified auditors with the opportunity to conduct mock PREA audits at a confinement facility under the guidance of an experienced PREA auditor and DOJ staff members.  To date, six FTP events have been conducted; the most recent was at the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center in Lafayette, Louisiana. The final FTP event of 2015 will be conducted during the first week of November at the Sacramento County, California Jail. Several FTP events are planned in calendar year 2016. For more information about the FTP, please visit the PREA Resource Center.

Law Enforcement Forecasting Group
BJA Deputy Director Kristen Mahoney and BJA staff participated in the Law Enforcement Forecasting Group (LEFG) on October 11–12 in Washington, D.C. BJA’s LEFG was created to identify emerging issues and trends and to anticipate tactics and strategies that might assist law enforcement agencies in providing quality police services. The LEFG identified several priority issues, including crime analysis capacity building, information sharing, human resources (recruiting, training, and retaining), and social media. Colorado Bail Book

Colorado Bail Book: A Defense Practitioner's Guide to Adult Pretrial Release
With grant support from BJA and in partnership with the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender and The Colorado Criminal Defense Institute, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) published the Colorado Bail Book: A Defense Attorney's Guide to Adult Pretrial Release.

New Website Helps Jurisdictions Reduce Solitary Confinement
VERA Intitute LogoWith BJA funding, the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) launched the Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative website, which is dedicated to helping jurisdictions safely reduce their use of solitary confinement and other forms of segregated prisoner housing. The website provides research and other resources to inform corrections officials, policymakers, advocates, the media, and the general public about the current use of segregation in the United States, its impact, and what can be done to address it. Read more here.

Analyzing Your Crime Problem Webinar
BJA posted a new webinar focusing on how to use data to reduce crime and enhance public safety. Titled “Analyzing Your Violent Crime Problem,” it is relevant to any practitioner, policymaker, or researcher interested in effectively identifying and analyzing criminal justice problems. Topics include how to specify the problem to prepare for the analysis; what sources and types of data can be used; using appropriate analytic approaches; developing "real-time" products and resources for strategic decisionmaking; and connecting problems to prevention options. Watch the webinar here.

Grants and Funding

No BJA FY 2015 competitive grant solicitations are currently open. Visit our Funding Page to stay up-to-date on upcoming BJA solicitations.

Don’t forget to visit OJP’s Funding Resource Center, where you’ll find OJP funding opportunities, an overview of OJP’s grant process, and more!

Funding Resource Center

In Focus This Month

Justice Department Awards $44 Million to Combat Human Trafficking
As part of a government-wide effort to combat human trafficking, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that DOJ awarded more than $44 million in anti-human trafficking grant funding. Attorney General Lynch made the announcement on September 24, 2015 at the Washington Advisory Committee on Trafficking. Anti-human trafficking grants administered by DOJ agencies combat human trafficking across the country by funding investigations and prosecutions of human trafficking crimes, services for survivors, and research.

Anti-Human Trafficking

BJA and the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) collaborate on the Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Initiative. This program provides more than $22.7 million in funding to support 16 anti-human trafficking task forces across the country. Each task force is led by a law enforcement agency and a victim service provider. The grantees then work collaboratively with other key members of the jurisdiction, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office; local prosecutor’s office; federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies; and community and system-based service providers. OVC provides more information about its victim-service efforts on the OVC Human Trafficking website.

Additionally, BJA announced selection of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) as the new TTA provider for this initiative. IACP will work with BJA to conduct a comprehensive analysis of TTA needs to strengthen the capacity to investigate and prosecute human trafficking.

Visit BJA’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Initiative page to learn more.

Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program
PSOB image

The Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) website has been updated with new Fact Sheets and Checklists of Required Documents to assist agencies, survivors, and injured officers as they file for PSOB benefits. Enacted in 1976, the PSOB Program provides death, disability, and education benefits to those eligible for the program. Visit the PSOB website to apply for these federal benefits for law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other first responders killed or catastrophically disabled in the line of duty. For questions regarding these new resources or the PSOB Program, call the PSOB Office at 888-744-6513 (toll-free) or 202-307-0635.

Did You Know?

Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents Training Video

BJA, in collaboration with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), launched a new Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents training video. BJA and IACP developed a Model Policy in 2014 for Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents in response to a growing recognition of the potential negative effects of a parent’s arrest on a child and the role of law enforcement in minimizing these risks. One of the most important ways law enforcement officers can build community trust is to show concern and support for children in the communities they serve.

This is especially true for children who are experiencing trauma at the time of arrest of a parent. The training video shows children telling their own stories about how they were affected by the arrest of a parent, and demonstrates the core principles from the Model Policy of actions law enforcement officers can take to reduce that trauma. Implementation of the Model Policy is a small but vital component of a department’s community policing strategy. View and download the training video here.

Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents
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The mission of the National Center for Campus Public Safety (National Center) is to bring together all forms of campus public safety, professional associations, advocacy organizations, community leaders, and others to improve and expand services to those charged with providing a safe campus environment on the nation's colleges and universities. One of the National Center’s main goals is enhancing and centralizing information and resources that benefit the public safety community.

The National Center provides essential information to campus security teams, student affairs professionals, and key stakeholders. It also serves the campus safety community with a calendar of relevant trainings and events and a weekly newsletter. Join the mailing list to receive more information.

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