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BJA's Justice Today
February 2016   
In the Spotlight

Attorney General Lynch Visits Doral Police Department
Attorney General Lynch With Doral Police On February 11, 2016, U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch visited the City of Doral Police Department in Doral, Florida, praising the department for its long-time implementation of the BJA-supported Blue Courage model, founded by retired Commander Michael Nila. The Doral Police Department has set a nationwide example by obtaining high marks on building trust and legitimacy in the community. The department has been working hard on developing those skills by taking part in the Blue Courage Program, a methodology that has been implemented within the Doral Police Department since the arrival in 2014 of Chief Don DeLucca. Attorney General Lynch thanked the Doral officers for their commitment to striving every day to embrace the values of the Blue Courage Program.

Doral Police Department is committed to ensuring that all of its officers keep in mind why they became police officers and its civilian staff keep in mind how they too make a difference. Equally important, the department is committed to establishing and maintaining a positive relationship with the community it serves. Blue Courage serves as the catalyst to make this commitment a daily reality.

This visit to Doral was part of Attorney General Lynch’s National Community Policing Tour, where she recognizes police departments nationwide that have excelled in the implementation of the six pillars for 21st Century Policing: building trust and legitimacy; policy and oversight; technology and social media; community policing and crime reduction; officer training and education; and officer safety and wellness.

See a video of Attorney General Lynch’s visit.

News You Can Use
BJA Presents Workshop on Combating Human Trafficking at National Sheriffs’ Association Conference
National Sheriffs Association LogoAnithuman Trafficking LogoBJA Policy Advisor Linda Hammond-Deckard coordinated an educational workshop on the topic of human trafficking for the National Sheriffs’ Association Winter Conference, held in Washington, D.C., from February 6 through 9. The workshop, which provided a broad overview of best practices in combating human trafficking in the U.S., received very positive feedback from the attendees. The presenters – Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) Deputy Director Kristina Rose, Cook County (IL) State’s Attorney Lou Longhitano; Erie County Sheriff’s Deputy/Investigator Theresa Nietzel, and Senior Research Associate-Urban Institute and BJA’s Human Trafficking Visiting Fellow Colleen Owens – provided information on the prevalence of labor trafficking in the U.S., the importance of law enforcement and prosecutors interacting during the early stages of an investigation, and the importance of using a victim-centered approach, as well as an overview of task force operations and the development of appropriate partnerships for successful labor trafficking cases. Attendees were challenged to return to their communities and initiate action to combat human trafficking and were invited to consider applying for fiscal year (FY) 2016 Enhance Collaborative Model Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force funding to start a task force in their jurisdictions.

BJA Staff Participate in APPA Annual Training Institute
The Byrne Criminal Justice Initiative (BCJI) program recently sponsored a webinar titled “Combining Revitalization and Community Safety,” which featured the efforts of grantees to connect crime reduction strategies to revitalization efforts. BCJI sites convene diverse partners, including residents, researchers, and local law enforcement, to analyze crime drivers and pursue strategies that improve safety and build trust long term. Police and community leaders from Austin, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, described how they addressed crime associated with vacant properties ranging from residential homes to large undeveloped areas of land in the webinar, available here.

VALOR Launches First Podcast
BJA’s Officer Safety and Wellness Initiative, VALOR, recently launched its first podcast in its VALOR Voices podcast series. The first podcast addresses Casualty Care and Rescue Tactics. It highlights the need for implementing casualty care and rescue tactics training programs within law enforcement agencies, a lifesaving tool for both law enforcement officers and the public. The podcast is available to registered users on the VALOR Voices web page.

BJA Initiatives Noted in DOJ’s Report on Restrictive Housing Reform
On January 25, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released its “Report and Recommendations Concerning the Use of Restrictive Housing,” which shared the results of the Department’s review of the practice, commonly referred to as solitary confinement, isolation, or segregation. DOJ concluded that “as a matter of policy, we believe strongly this practice should be used rarely, applied fairly, and subjected to reasonable constraints,” and set forth 50 Guiding Principles as a roadmap for state and local systems wishing to engage in reform. BJA participated in this review, and DOJ relied heavily on the successes of states in BJA’s Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative, a project in partnership with the Vera Institute of Justice and five corrections systems—Nebraska; North Carolina; Oregon; New York City; and Middlesex County, New Jersey.

The Law Enforcement Cyber Center Adds Prosecutor Resources to Website
The Law Enforcement Cyber Center (LECC) has recently added prosecutor resources to its website. The LECC is a cooperative effort between BJA, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the Police Executive Research Forum, and RAND to provide cyber information on reporting, investigations, and prosecutions in the ever changing realm of cybercrime, cyber intrusion, and cyber protection/prevention. This site was designed to be a quick reference for law enforcement executives, first responders, investigators, and prosecutors to identify trending issues, learn how to report problems, and gain knowledge about available training opportunities.

Bringing NIATx to Corrections: Lessons Learned from Three Pilot Studies
To help connect people reentering their communities from jail or prison to substance use treatment, the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center partnered with NIATx—a learning collaborative that is part of the Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies (CHESS) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison—to bring its process improvement model to corrections. Through a competitive application process, three pilot sites were selected to work with the CSG Justice Center and NIATx from 2011 to 2013: DeKalb County, Georgia; Durham County, North Carolina; and the State of Maryland. The CSG Justice Center’s report documents the key lessons learned and recommendations to help criminal justice and substance use treatment systems improve transitions between institutional and community care.

Second Chance Act Grantee’s Juvenile Justice Work Recognized
The Maricopa County Education Service Agency (MCESA), a FY 2013 Second Chance Act Juvenile Demonstration grantee, was recently awarded the 2015 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo) for their collaborative, community-based program for youth transitioning out of incarceration or detention. The program, Transforming Juveniles through Successful Transitions (TJST), is a 5-year initiative that grew out of Maricopa County’s plan to reduce juvenile recidivism to 20 percent or less by 2018 by increasing the number of youth who are successfully reintegrated back into school and the community through coordinated support. Its partners include the Maricopa County Regional School District, the Maricopa County Adult and Juvenile Probation Departments, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, and the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections.

This information was provided by the CSG Justice Center. Read more here.

Rocky Mountain RISS Center to Provide ICOTS Information to Eight Member States
The Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS) leverages the Interstate Compact Offender Tracking System (ICOTS), a nationwide information system, to track all probationers/parolees authorized to relocate across state lines. The intent is to alert officers to exercise caution when interacting with potentially high-risk offenders.

The first participant and pilot state for this project was the New York State Intelligence Center (NYSIC). After seeing the value of this information to states and fusion centers, presentations were made to several other state fusion centers to promote the project. Based on these presentations the following fusion centers followed suit and became participants in the ICOTS Exchange: Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center (GISAC), the North Carolina Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAAC), the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC), and the Wisconsin State Information Center (WSIC).

This presentation was then made to the Rocky Mountain (RMIN) RISS Center Board of Directors, the RMIN RISS Center director, and staff. The interest in the project was overwhelming and the board voted to use the RMIN RISS Center to intake the ICOTS data and then distribute it to the eight member states of RMIN (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming).

With the addition of the RMIN states the total number of states receiving information about offenders moving to their state through the ICOTS Exchange is now 13. If other RISS Centers follow suit the project is expected to span all 50 states and territories and reduce the work of going state by state.

Grants and Funding

Visit our Funding Page for FY 2016 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
BJA Staff Provide Witness Protection TTA Session
BJA Lead Witness Protention Training and Technical Assistance Session Steven Siegel, Director of the Special Programs Unit, Denver, Colorado, District Attorney’s Office, and Mitch Morrissey, District Attorney, Colorado 2nd Judicial District, provided training and technical assistance (TTA) to the Wilmington, Delaware Violence Reduction Network (VRN) site on February 9, 2016.

Intimidation of witnesses can be a significant challenge for violence reduction efforts because it infringes upon the effective and fair operation of the judicial process. Without cooperating witnesses, police investigators and prosecutors are denied critical evidence, cases are jeopardized, and confidence in the criminal justice system’s ability to protect and represent the members of the community is undermined. The Witness Protection TTA session offered innovative ways to address witness intimidation. The training focused on the following objectives:
  • Examining the challenges the law enforcement community faces in encouraging witnesses to testify and keeping them safe.
  • Discussing a variety of approaches for protecting witnesses, including courtroom safety, relocation, enhanced physical safety, personal protection training, modifying social media practices, enhanced community relations, and vertical prosecution of witness intimidation.
  • Identifying resources available for witness protection at the local and federal levels.

Representatives from the Attorney General’s Office, Delaware Witness Protection Unit, Wilmington Police, and the Wilmington Victim Services Unit were in attendance.

Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program
PSOB image Updates to PSOB Website
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?

Justice Reinvestment Approaches in Ohio and Oregon
How can evidence-based approaches to corrections programming improve public safety and lower state criminal justice spending? The Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) uses data to help communities examine corrections and related criminal justice spending, manage criminal justice populations in a more cost-effective manner, and reinvest savings in reentry strategies that improve community well-being. BJA and the BJA National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) support JRI implementation through training and technical assistance (TTA). Check out BJA NTTAC’s TTA Spotlight article here about justice reinvestment approaches in Ohio and Oregon.

Upcoming Training: Community Justice 2016 International Summit
BJA and the Center for Court Innovation will host the Community Justice 2016 International Summit in Chicago, Illinois on April 13–15, 2016. The summit will convene an audience of practitioners and researchers to explore some of today's most pressing issues and promising ideas in criminal justice reform. Click here to register for this no-cost training. 

Featured Program
Community and Police Join Together to Discuss Issues of Race and Violence in Syracuse

Sarah Reckess, Director of the Upstate Office for the Center for Court Innovation, recently completed facilitation training with the Syracuse Police Department to begin holding community/police dialogues around Syracuse, New York. One police officer and one community leader will host each dialogue to discuss community/police relationships in a post-Ferguson world. The Near Westside (NWS) Peacemaking Project will be the host site.

On February 20, the NWS Peacemaking Project held their first community dialogue, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dialogue on Race and Violence. They worked with a local high school group called Seeds of Peace that is trained to facilitate dialogues around tough issues and host these dialogues in the Syracuse City schools. The event attracted a large group, who answered questions regarding race and identity. Then they read quotes from different Civil Rights Era activists about nonviolent responses, and discussed which of them were still relevant in the world of Black Lives Matter.

This event and upcoming dialogues were funded through the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation grant. BCJI seeks to reduce crime and improve community safety as part of a comprehensive strategy to advance neighborhood revitalization. One of the four key elements of the BCJI model emphasizes a community-oriented approach; BCJI champions active roles for residents in identifying problems, selecting strategies, and creating safe environments.

BCJI Event
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