Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

Boston Police Department Office of Research and Development

BJA Program(s): Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program
State(s): MA

Grantee Agency: See below

Grant Amount/Year(s): FY 2010/$282,713

About the Program:

In an effort to keep up with the constant changes within the criminal justice system and more specifically, the area of law enforcement, the Boston Police Department (BPD) continues to rely heavily on the ongoing research, development and implementation of critical and successful programs and functions needed to allow the Department to run effectively and efficiently. Moreover, the BPD is committed to providing critical support for research, crime analysis, program planning and development, program evaluation and technology improvement programs that inform and ensure the success of police initiatives and innovation.

The BPD utilizes JAG funds to provide support for the ongoing research, development and implementation of critical and successful programs and services. The analysts located in the BPD's Office of Research and Development (ORD) monitor emerging research on leading, evidenced-based practices, conduct internal program evaluations (e.g., needs assessment, program theory, process analysis, impact analysis, and cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis), and organize and interpret technical data and financial information relating to BPD initiatives, policies and programs. Moreover, analysts supplement analysis and research for the police management process, COMPSTAT, as well as provide crime statistics, analytical support and strategy development, and implementation and evaluation support to each police district. In addition, ORD analysts fulfill a critical role for the BPD through resource development, grant program administration, strategic planning, best practices research and evaluation, crime analysis and mapping, management analysis, training and technical assistance with program management, and program and partnership development. The office focuses on fostering innovation among police leaders and external partners, facilitating development of new crime control and prevention strategies and initiatives with internal and external partners including police management, clergy, prosecutors, universities, other law enforcement agencies, and community organizations. JAG funding also support a Technology Initiatives Coordinator who provides critical project management and coordination of new applications and technology initiatives, and support functions for applications used throughout the Department. The Coordinator analyzes current business practices in order to recommend and implement technology solutions, and provides support to systems such as, but not limited to, COPLINK, TRACE, LPR, LIMS, TIPS, Cad/RMS, Case Management, Id/Imaging, and Incident Tracking System.

The BPD is committed to improving officers' capabilities, thus allowing them to have immediate access to information while in the field. The Department has had many meetings to explore and manage and apply technology that will increase and improve the flow of critical intelligence information to and from the Boston Regional Intelligence Center, as well as establish a capacity to access a variety of internet-based databases that provide crucial information for effective enforcement and officer safety. Technology Projects will also focus on increasing officer productivity, through technology solutions that allow various reports and data entries to be done in the field. Ultimately, such improvements will allow us to more effectively prevent and reduce crime in all our neighborhoods.

Program Successes/Effect on the Community:

Over the past few years, ORD has developed dozens of partnerships and has established a reputation internally and externally - both locally and nationally -- as a model engine for innovation and responsiveness.

The office supports the programs and partnerships central to the Department's ongoing implementation of its mission of Neighborhood Policing. ORD has been a center for excellence and innovation, research and evaluation, and resource development. Research and Policy analyst positions allow the BPD to maintain the ability to develop effective programming, report and analyze crime statistics, and develop partnerships in the community.

Technology, wireless communication, and intelligence gathering are some of the essential tools needed for effective policing. Officers on patrol must have access to such information that commanding officers have determined as pertinent due to the emerging threats posed by certain persons of interest or areas of high crime and concern. Along with the advancement of wireless technology, software development and data management is a continuing aspect of intelligence-gathering success. The Technology Initiatives Coordinator has achieved success through the following; restored access to multiple CopLink users; trained the BRIC in using CopLink; created a mechanism whereby BPD would receive data from BTD in order to recover stolen vehicles; participated in meetings to determine which Evidence Tracker program BPD should use in the future; and assisted with planning kick-off meeting.

Since its inception, the ORD analysts and the Technology Initiatives Coordinator have played a critical role in transforming the Boston Police Department into a national model of community policing. This has been done through:

  • Development of new programs
  • Development of new strategic partnerships
  • Development of new resources to support innovation

Changes in organizational structure and policing practices share some common characteristics. In almost every case, change has emerged from collaboration among Department personnel and external partners. Also, in the typical case, change has been leveraged with the well-placed investment of external funds. The Department has leveraged change through new programs, technology innovations and solutions, and those programs have grown into institutional practices that sustain themselves with existing resources.

Continued JAG funding support will result in the delivery of crime and program analysis to district and Departmental command staff, leading to the deployment of sworn personnel conducting research and analysis duties, back onto the streets, as well as improved strategic initiative implementation, accountability and performance measurement.

Learn More:
To learn more about the program, please contact:
Cheryl Joyce
Grants Manager Program Coordinator
Email: joycec.bpd@cityofboston.gov
Phone: 617-343-5858

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