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BJA's Justice Today
January 2017   
In the Spotlight

Stepping Up Summit Held
Stepping Up ConferenceStepping Up: The California Summit was held on January 18 and 19 in Sacramento, California. The two-day summit, aimed at reducing the number of people with mental illnesses in jails, hosted teams representing 53 of California’s 58 counties as part of Stepping Up, a national initiative funded by BJA and supported by the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program, the Police-Mental Health Collaboration (PMHC) Toolkit, and county collaborative programs.

The teams comprised key decisionmakers in each community, including elected leaders, jail administrators, law enforcement officials, judges, and others, and were joined at the conference by national experts to establish and refine plans to lower the population of incarcerated people with mental illnesses. Their work was framed by a new paper released on January 18 by Stepping Up that poses six key questions community stakeholders must answer when developing such comprehensive strategies. This roadmap for local leaders addresses key elements of a successful plan, including the need for screening and assessments for mental illness upon admission to jail; establishing a baseline of data for counties to follow; tracking progress on key outcomes, such as recidivism rates; and ensuring connections to treatment.

Stepping Up launched in May 2015 as a partnership between The Council of State Governments Justice Center, The National Association of Counties, and The American Psychiatric Association Foundation. The initiative has rallied more than 323 counties nationwide, representing nearly 35 percent of the U.S. population, to commit to actions toward reducing the number of people with mental illnesses in jails. Those counties include 26 California counties represented at the summit.

News You Can Use

BJA Releases New Mental Health Toolkit
After engaging in a national dialogue with key stakeholders throughout the law enforcement and mental health fields, BJA released its Police-Mental Health Collaboration (PMHC) Toolkit. The PMHC Toolkit will serve as the comprehensive, go-to source for any information related to this very important collaboration effort. The toolkit provides resources for law enforcement agencies to partner with mental health providers to effectively respond to and manage calls for service while advancing safety for everyone.

Smart Policing Collaboration Principles Released
The Smart Policing Initiative (SPI) has released the Smart Policing Collaboration Principles document. This product provides a high-level overview of police-community collaboration principles developed by SPI in cooperation with the BJA Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) Program and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). BJA conducted a series of three workshops over the past year examining challenges and successes in police-community collaboration. This document represents the integration of ideas generated at all three workshops in a series of Collaboration Principles, which are fundamental guidelines for how local jurisdictions (police agencies and communities alike) should approach police-community collaboration.

In Focus This Month

One Mind Campaign
One of the most challenging issues for officers responding to calls for service is handling calls involving persons affected by mental illness. The One Mind Campaign from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) aims to improve police-community interactions by addressing this issue. The campaign is a collective effort to address the need for police agencies to develop guidance and policies on establishing community partnerships and training options for officers regarding interactions with people affected by mental illness.

BJA’s Police-Mental Health Collaboration Toolkit is a key resource in this campaign, and the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) grant funding program can assist law enforcement agencies with the resources to plan a police-mental health collaboration strategy. JMHCP provides valuable technical assistance to guide new programs toward a successful police-mental health collaboration.

The One Mind Campaign seeks to raise the level of successful interactions between police officers and persons affected by mental illness to achieve the best possible outcomes for officer and consumer. To join the campaign, law enforcement agencies make a commitment to implement the following four promising practices over a 12- to 36-month timeframe.

  • Establish a clearly defined and sustainable partnership with one or more community mental health organization(s).
  • Develop and implement a model policy addressing police response to persons affected by mental illness.
  • Train and certify 100 percent of your agency’s sworn officers (and selected non-sworn staff, such as dispatchers) in Mental Health First Aid.
  • Provide Crisis Intervention Team training to a minimum of 20 percent of your agency’s sworn officers (and selected non-sworn staff, such as dispatchers).

Together, BJA's PMHC toolkit and the JMHCP support the One Mind Campaign by providing the tools and resources for agencies taking the pledge to be successful.

Grants and Funding

Visit our Funding Page to stay up-to-date on 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

Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program

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 the PSOB Program, call the PSOB Office at 888-744-6513 (toll-free) or 202-307-0635.

Did You Know?

Leveraging Researcher Expertise to Enhance the Public Safety Mission in Detroit
Law enforcement agencies across the United States, challenged by limited manpower and tight budgets, are relying on building their analytical capacity to combat violent crime. In Detroit, Michigan, a Violence Reduction Network (VRN) site, researchers from the Michigan State University (MSU) School of Criminal Justice collaborated with the Detroit Police Department (DPD) and other criminal justice partners to develop evidence-based strategies to reduce crime through the Crime Analyst Placement Program. To read more about MSU’s work in supporting DPD with expertise in social network analysis and risk terrain modeling, check out the latest TTA Spotlight article from the BJA National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC).

Featured Program
BJA Publishes NEW JAG Activity Report
BJA is proud to debut the FY 2016 JAG Activity Report. The Activity Report, which will be published annually, covers a range of information, including where Justice Assistance Grant activity and program funds are allocated, how these funds are used and expended, and programmatic data such as law enforcement approaches using evidence-based best practices.

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