Enhancing Law Enforcement Initiatives and Protecting and Supporting Victims of Crime

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) supports initiatives that address the prevention, suppression, and subsequent reduction of violent crime, gang activity, and economic crime; and it provides resources, including training and technical assistance (TTA), to law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. These initiatives include smart policing, officer safety, anti-human trafficking task forces, forensics, drug market intervention (DMI), mortgage fraud, intellectual property (IP), leadership development, and crime prevention. Further, BJA administers victim-centered programs that leverage support from partners at the state, local, and tribal levels.

Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program is the leading source of federal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions. It provides states, tribes, and local governments with critical funding that is necessary to support a range of activities in seven purpose areas: law enforcement; courts (prosecution, defense, and indigent defense); crime prevention and education; corrections and community corrections; drug treatment and enforcement; planning, evaluation, and technology improvement; and crime victim and witness initiatives. JAG awards have a 4-year project period, but funds are distributed up front rather than on a reimbursement basis, allowing recipients to earn interest on their awards and generate additional funding for successful initiatives and future projects.

The largest percentage of annual JAG funding was allocated for the law enforcement purpose area. More than 60 percent of annual JAG funding from awards made in fiscal years (FY) 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 was allocated for law enforcement personnel, initiatives, and equipment, including multijurisdictional drug and gang task forces, police cruisers, training, technical assistance, and less-than-lethal devices.

In FY 2012, 10 percent of the funding was allocated for the court purpose area, including activities to support programs such as adult courts, family courts, and veteran courts. In addition, 9 percent of funding was used for the planning, evaluation, and technology improvement purpose area, including activities for planning a program or conducting an evaluation to improve the technology used in a program. The remaining funding (19 percent) was used for the other program areas: corrections and community corrections, crime prevention and education, crime victim and witness protection, and drug treatment and enforcement.

BJA’s JAG Showcase ( highlights statewide, local, and subgrantee JAG projects that have demonstrated success or have shown promise in meeting the program’s objectives and goals while positively affecting communities. Each year, new methods are being discovered to reduce and prevent crime, violence, and drug abuse and to improve the functioning of the criminal justice system. The JAG Showcase serves as a resource for criminal justice professionals who seek to stay informed about the most interesting, innovative, and results-oriented projects that have been funded with JAG money in the last several years.

In FY 2012, BJA awarded 1,128 local and 56 state applications for JAG funding totaling more than $287 million (approximately $193.8 million to states and territories and $93.6 million to local units of government).

Smart Policing Initiative

Developing data-driven solutions that are effective and economical—as measured by reduced crime, higher closure rates, and realistic cost—is of great benefit to law enforcement agencies in this era of budget reductions and limited staffing. The Smart Policing Initiative (SPI) seeks to identify those solutions. Beginning in 2009, law enforcement agencies have been testing solutions with their research partners. These research partners, generally from local universities, work closely with their SPI agency partner and help identify the issues, develop solutions, and devise an evaluation plan to measure their impact.

In FY 2012, SPI sites began reporting results. These results included statistically significant findings such as offender-based programs centered on micro-hot spots that reduced violent crime in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; problem-solving teams that reduced violence in chronic hot spots in Boston, Massachusetts; place- and offender-based strategies that produced a 22 percent reduction in homicides in Los Angeles, California; place-based crime prevention through environmental design strategies that reduced thefts and calls for service at high-traffic convenience stores in Glendale, Arizona; and community policing that enhanced police legitimacy in distrustful, high-crime migrant neighborhoods in Palm Beach County, Florida.

In FY 2012, BJA made grant awards totaling nearly $1.2 million to four new sites: the Columbia (South Carolina) Police Department, East Palo Alto (California) Police Department, Port St. Lucie (Florida) Police Department, and Rochester (New York) Police Department. At the end of FY 2012, 28 agencies participated in SPI.

More information about SPI can be found on the Smart Policing web site:

Officer Safety

Preliminary data indicates that felonious assaults on law enforcement and corrections officers decreased during the 2012 calendar year after significant increases during the previous 2 years. As of mid-December 2012, 64 law enforcement and corrections officers had died after being assaulted while performing their jobs. Forty-seven of those officers died as a result of firearms-related incidents, a decrease of 13 percent over the same time period the previous year.

Leading experts in officer safety recognize that, following the significant increases in officer deaths during the previous 2 years, many agencies made policy changes to improve officer safety through additional training and increased requirements that officers wear protective vests. BJA provides resources and funding to encourage these developments.

Bulletproof Vest Partnership

Created by the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act of 1998, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Program is a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) initiative designed to provide a critical resource to state and local law enforcement. With serious state and local budget constraints facing jurisdictions across the United States, the BVP Program continues to provide funds to help jurisdictions purchase bullet- and stab-resistant body armor for sworn law enforcement and corrections officers. In FY 2012, BJA awarded a total of nearly $20 million to 4,180 state, local, and tribal jurisdictions. These funds will be used to pay for up to 50 percent of the cost of protective vests that meet the current National Institute of Justice (NIJ) body armor standards. During the first quarter of FY 2012, the BVP program reached a significant milestone—the 1 million mark for total vests purchased in part with BVP funds. Additionally, beginning in FY 2011, jurisdictions are required to have a written mandatory-wear policy for uniformed officers engaged in field activities to receive BVP funds. BJA has documented evidence that numerous agencies implemented mandatory body armor wear policies following the addition of this requirement to the BVP Program.

Program accomplishments in FY 2012 include:

More information about the BVP Program can be found at

Success Stories

In FY 2012, 33 law enforcement and corrections officers survived deadly assaults. These incidents occurred in locations ranging from major metropolitan areas to rural small towns. The officers assaulted were equally diverse in age, gender, years of service, and assignment. What unites these incidents is that at least 33 officers are alive today because they were wearing a protective vest when the assault occurred.

  • On August 5, 2012, as members of the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin prepared for worship, a lone gunman began firing a .9mm semi-automatic pistol at those gathered, killing six persons and injuring four others. Lieutenant Brian Murphy, one of the first officers to arrive at the scene, was ambushed by the gunman as he attempted to provide assistance to one of the victims. Although Lieutenant Murphy suffered multiple gunshot wounds, he survived the attack because he was wearing a protective vest that stopped three bullets from entering his body and striking vital organs.
  • On July 27, 2012, while attempting to conduct a routine motor vehicle stop, Officer Matthew Fox of the Town of Fortville (Indiana) Police Department was shot and seriously injured when the operator of the motor vehicle suddenly stopped his vehicle, exited with a high-powered assault weapon, and fired more than 75 rounds in the direction of the police. Officer Fox was struck in the head by one bullet, but several other rounds struck him in the chest area and were stopped by the vest he was wearing. Officer Fox still faces a period of recovery, but as of October 29, 2012, he had returned to a light-duty assignment with his agency and is looking forward to returning to full duty in the future.
  • In Gloucester Township, New Jersey, during booking on charges resulting from a domestic violence incident on the morning on December 28, 2012, the subject fought with officers and after a violent struggle was able to obtain a firearm. The subject then used the gun to shoot three police officers who were in the booking area. Two of the officers suffered minor injuries; however, Sergeant James Garber was struck by multiple rounds, including one that struck his abdomen and another that struck the center chest area of his bullet-resistant vest. Although Sergeant Garber required surgery, he was discharged from the hospital on January 1, 2013 and started the new year with his family in the comfort of his own home—all because he was wearing a protective vest.

VALOR—Preventing Violence Against Law Enforcement Officers and Ensuring Officer Resilience and Survivability

Preventing Violence Against Law Enforcement Officers and Ensuring Officer Resilience and Survivability (VALOR) is a national officer safety TTA initiative that is designed to help prevent violence against law enforcement officers and ensure officer resilience and survivability following violent encounters during the course of their duties. The initiative was created in response to the recent precipitous increase in ambush-style assaults that have taken the lives of many law enforcement officers. VALOR promotes officer safety and helps prevent line-of-duty injuries and deaths by assisting law enforcement in gaining/honing skills needed to prevent or survive a violent encounter; and provides training (in-person and online), research, publications/resources, and more to state, local, and tribal law enforcement in order to achieve greater officer safety.

VALOR activities in FY 2012 include:

The Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR) is the grantee that administers the VALOR initiative on behalf of BJA. IIR partnered with Texas State University for the ALERRT sessions and with the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund for outreach and awareness.

In FY 2012, BJA through IIR accomplished the following:

For more information, visit

Reducing Officer Injuries

BJA’s Reducing Officer Injuries (ROI) program is a partnership between BJA and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). The goal of this program is to understand the nature of on-the-job injuries experienced by public safety officers and to develop responses to lessen such occurrences and lead to an overall increase in efficiency and effectiveness.

In FY 2012, the program analyzed all officer injuries occurring within 18 participating law enforcement agencies over a 12-month period to determine if there were trends in injuries and what policy and training recommendations BJA and IACP might make to reduce or prevent future injuries. The program is finalizing its recommendations, which should be made available in FY 2013.

ROI also conducted awareness and outreach activities that included presenting research findings at various speaking engagements such as the IACP Annual Conference. Through these presentations, practitioners have learned about the value of tracking injuries within their organizations.

National Center for the Prevention of Violence Against the Police

The National Center for the Prevention of Violence Against the Police is a partnership between BJA and IACP. The center’s mission is to prevent felonious assaults against law enforcement by developing and disseminating information as part of BJA’s and IACP’s officer safety initiatives.

In FY 2012, the center examined data from federal, state, local, campus, and tribal law enforcement agencies, as well as from existing IACP sources such as the data captured through IACP’s Division of State Association of Chiefs of Police’s Reducing Officer Injury initiative—another program that complements BJA’s officer safety initiatives—to gain insight into the profession and the threats facing law enforcement officers.

The center also disseminated research findings in the form of informational briefs, reports, and a best practices guide distributed to more than 22,000 IACP members. The center raised awareness and conducted outreach through its web site, IACP’s Police Chief Magazine, and social media. Other material produced and disseminated to the field in FY 2012 includes:

RISSafe Program

A component of BJA’s Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS), RISS Officer Safety Event Deconfliction System (RISSafe) is the only comprehensive and nationwide deconfliction system that can be accessed by all law enforcement agencies on a 24/7, 365-day basis. Planned law enforcement events—such as undercover operations—often create the potential for conflict between agencies or officers that are unknowingly working in close proximity to each other. RISSafe stores and maintains data on such events with the goal of identifying and alerting agencies of potential conflicts that may affect law enforcement efforts.

RISSafe was first deployed in 2008. Since its inception, more than 615,127 operations have been entered, resulting in more than 208,057 identified  conflicts. In 2012, 57,500 conflicts were identified, which represents 35 percent of the 164,094 events entered. In April, RISS launched RISSafe Mobile, which enables officers to submit events to RISSafe and receive notification of potential conflicts via their mobile devices. At the end of FY 2012, 23 RISSafe Watch Centers were operating throughout the country.

The RISS Officer Safety Website ( serves as a secure one-stop shop for law enforcement to access all types of officer safety-related information, including concealment methods, armed and dangerous subjects, training and videos, and other awareness topics such as narcotics, gangs, and domestic terrorism. During FY 2012, there were more than 18,000 visits to the RISS Officer Safety Website. (To learn more about BJA’s RISS, see Chapter 4.)

Presidential Candidate Nominating Convention Program

BJA provided $100 million in funding to support extraordinary law enforcement expenditures and related security costs, including overtime, associated with the 2012 Republican and Democratic National Conventions. The program’s scope included onsite analytical support and technical assistance to the two 2012 host cities—Tampa, Florida and Charlotte, North Carolina—and development of two after-action reports and one comprehensive blueprint incorporating lessons learned from both nominating conventions. The blueprint will assist future local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies that will play a role in planning, managing, and providing security for a large-scale special event, including presidential nominating conventions.

Each host city received a grant of $49,850,000. The remainder of the funding (approximately $300,000) was used to sponsor Managing Large-Scale Security Events: A Planning Primer for Local Law Enforcement Agencies and two after-action reports.

Success Stories

BJA assigned a senior State Policy Advisor to manage both grants for the 2012 National Conventions to ensure consistency with the grantees and provide daily liaison with staff from both cities. Monthly conference calls were held with representatives from both host cities starting in December 2011. Before the applications were accepted, extensive outreach was conducted regarding sole-source requests, vehicle waivers, lodging requests, and food and beverage approvals.

Grant management included a series of site visits to each city. The initial site visits were conducted with both cities before the convention awards were finalized. They were done to help agencies prepare for managing their grants and included a representative from the DOJ Office of the Inspector General, who provided an onsite fraud, waste, and abuse training to both cities. Second onsite monitoring visits were conducted just before the conventions, which involved reviewing all award files and observing the purchased equipment and technology upgrades. Final visits will be conducted in FY 2013 just before the awards' closing.

As a result of BJA’s guidance, oversight, and technical assistance to the two host cities of the conventions both cities were able to effectively plan, manage, and provide a high level of security for these national special security events. Both cities were able to efficiently purchase and procure all the necessary equipment, provide required overtime, and fund all the extraordinary law enforcement and related security costs, which allowed them to ensure top security and safety for all the officials and participants of the conventions.

Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Initiative

Combating human trafficking requires a comprehensive response from both government and nongovernment entities in areas from human rights to employment issues to law enforcement. Working with an Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) grantee and DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, BJA’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Initiative uses proactive investigations to identify and rescue victims of human trafficking. BJA and its partners work closely with local and state law enforcement agencies to organize anti-human trafficking task forces with a multidisciplinary, victim-centered approach that takes into account both the humanitarian principle behind the identification and rescue of victims and the role that trafficking victims play in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers.

In FY 2012, BJA and OVC jointly released the Enhanced Collaborative Model to Combat Human Trafficking Competitive Grant Announcement, for which each selected site was awarded two awards—one to support law enforcement agencies to coordinate the goals, objectives, and activities of the entire task force, and one to support a victim service organization to coordinate the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate services to all identified  trafficking victims. Fourteen new awards totaling more than $6.8 million were made at seven sites (i.e., seven law enforcement agencies and seven victim service providers). As of September 30, 2012, BJA has funded 17 anti-human trafficking task forces.

BJA also solicited proposals to develop and provide training to address human trafficking on tribal lands. The trainings would build awareness of human trafficking in Indian Country and provide law enforcement and community stakeholders with the tools necessary to begin the process of victim identification, rescue, and restoration, while applying consistent and appropriate consequences for perpetrators. Through a competitive process, BJA awarded $305,000 to the Upper Midwest Community Policing Institute (UMCPI), the incumbent BJA grantee.

Additionally, UMCPI continued to deliver advanced investigators anti-human trafficking training to local law enforcement. In partnership with the National Judicial College (NJC) and the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), it also delivered anti-human trafficking training for state judges and prosecutors. Program accomplishments in FY 2012 include:

Violent Gang and Gun Crime Reduction Program (Project Safe Neighborhoods)

The Violent Gang and Gun Crime Reduction Program, also known as Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), is a strategy for reducing gun and gang crime across the nation. The PSN strategy, which focuses on aggressive and coordinated enforcement of existing gun laws in federal and state courts, concentrates on the implementation of five elements that are integral to a comprehensive, coordinated gun and gang crime reduction and prevention program: (1) partnerships, (2) strategic planning, (3) training, (4) community outreach, and (5) accountability. Over the past several years, BJA has supported these five elements through both competitive grant funds and the delivery of TTA to the field.

Program accomplishments in FY 2012 include:

For more information on PSN, go to

Law Enforcement Leadership

BJA has been examining police leadership needs for some time. Not since the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice has there been an extended examination of leadership needs. This examination has been undertaken in part to respond to the increased demands, scrutiny, challenges, and changes policing has undergone over the past 20 years.

The BJA Executive Session on Police Leadership—hosted with St. Petersburg College (Florida)—brought together a cross-disciplinary group of current and future police leaders and other influential community stakeholders to undertake a examination of the needs of police leaders and the development of leadership in the future. Eight work groups were formed to examine eight significant areas considered vital for future police leaders in producing community safety: Law Enforcement, Collaboration & Trust, Creating Problem Solving and the Law, Work on Policing, Community Building, Performance Measures, Leadership Development (Training), and Leadership Development (Experiential Learning). Each of these work groups is developing a product for publication:

National Forensic Academy

The University of Tennessee’s National Forensic Academy (NFA) is an intensive 10-week, in-residence training program designed to increase the skills of crime scene investigators. It provides a practical, hands-on, knowledge-based interdisciplinary training environment in which participants learn the best practices and standards in crime scene investigation. NFA has long been the standard for forensic training, and in recent years the program has gained greater efficiency, allowing for more comprehensive training and more cost-effective delivery.

In FY 2012, NFA held two training sessions. The first had 24 graduates from 10 states representing 18 agencies, and the second had 24 graduates from 12 states representing 22 agencies.

Drug Market Intervention

Previously under the PSN initiative, BJA developed a training curriculum for local teams interested in implementing an open-air drug market intervention (DMI) initiative, commonly referred to as the “High Point model” after the successful program in North Carolina. DMI is a strategy that uses focused deterrence, intervention, and prevention to eliminate illegal open-air drug markets and the crime, violence, and disorder associated with them.

The BJA-sponsored DMI Training Initiative, in partnership with MSU, consists of a continuum of three trainings for sites that are interested in replicating the strategy. Each selected site’s team consists of a law enforcement officer, a local prosecutor, a community leader, and a social service provider, all of whom attend all three trainings. Each team receives a site visit from a BJA technical assistance provider, along with ongoing support to assist local teams in adapting the model to their local context and circumstances. BJA’s national partners have developed a training manual that interested jurisdictions can use to implement DMI locally.

Program accomplishments in FY 2012 include:

Mortgage Fraud

As news reports have indicated and justice and community representatives have reported, the number of vacant and abandoned properties in communities across the United States has increased, and mortgage fraud and foreclosures are reported to play a key role. One estimate gives a conservative figure of $218 billion in losses in 2007 as a direct result of mortgage fraud on subprime loans. Vacant and abandoned properties often become unsightly, diminish the property values of surrounding homes and communities, and invite disorder and criminal activity into these communities. Mitigating the effects of these problems, reducing the frequency of these occurrences, and restoring these properties to productive use can play a significant role in reducing and preventing neighborhood crime.

In 2009, BJA convened a working group of representatives from various regions of the country in response to the accelerating growth of mortgage fraud and problem vacant properties. The goal of this initiative is to increase the capacity of state and local agencies to prevent, detect, investigate, and prosecute mortgage fraud cases in coordination with federal agencies. In FY 2012, BJA continued to respond to state and local needs through a network of TTA providers: the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), and St. Petersburg College Center for Public Safety Innovation (CPSI).

In FY 2012, NW3C received supplemental funding to continue its TTA efforts in the area of mortgage fraud. BJA’s site-based grantees continued to use their resources to launch investigations and prosecutions of individuals suspected of engaging in mortgage fraud, and they have reported several successes in this arena.

Program accomplishments in FY 2012 include:

National Gang Center

The National Gang Center (NGC) is a collaborative effort between BJA and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency

Prevention (OJJDP). This partnership recognizes that solutions to combat street gang activities must reach out to gang members of all ages and involve a range of strategies, including prosecution, prevention, intervention, suppression, and aftercare. NGC conducts research on street gangs and serves as a clearinghouse for individuals and agencies seeking information and TTA in the areas of gang prevention, intervention, suppression, and reentry.

Program accomplishments in FY 2012 include:

Intellectual Property Crime

The improved coordination of IP rights enforcement efforts among federal, state, and local authorities is a high priority for DOJ. BJA’s IP Enforcement, Training, and Technical Assistance Program (IP Grant Program) assists state and local law enforcement agencies and educational institutions in providing resources for IP crime prevention, response, and TTA efforts.

In FY 2012, BJA made $2.45 million available to support these efforts, with 13 jurisdictions receiving funding to reimburse expenses related to performing criminal enforcement operations; educating the public to prevent, deter, and identify criminal violations of IP laws; establishing task forces to conduct investigations, forensic analyses, and prosecutions; and acquiring equipment to conduct investigations and forensic analysis of evidence. In addition, NW3C and NAAG continued to offer regional BJA-sponsored trainings on the subject of IP investigation and prosecution.

Finally, BJA, in collaboration with NCPC, launched the National IP Theft Public Education Campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to combat the purchase and sale of counterfeit  and pirated products. It will educate the public on various forms of IP theft and highlight the potential health, safety, and economic consequences of this type of theft.

IP Grant Program accomplishments in FY 2012 include:

Success Stories

The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office has been able to successfully use BJA grant funding to expand its collaborative partnerships in investigating cases involving several federal, state, and local agencies to identify patterns and trends involving violations of IP and to share vital information that would lead to arrests and prosecutions.

During FY 2012, six defendants from Thousand Oak Barrels Company, Inc., located in Prince William County, Virginia, reached a plea agreement on 12 counts of trademark infringement. Special agents from Virginia’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation Fairfax Field Office specifically assigned to IP cases initiated the investigation. This was the first instance in Virginia that a company was successfully convicted of trademark Infringement.

Leading by Legacy

The Leading by Legacy program, funded through the FY 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and developed in partnership with IACP, was designed to meet the leadership and management training needs of rural law enforcement agencies. The program provides onsite training, webinars, CD–ROM training, and onsite technical assistance to agencies in small rural areas of the United States. Onsite trainings are limited to 30 participants and designed to allow participants to become actively engaged in small group exercises and interact with the cadre of trainers.

During FY 2012, five trainings were held across the country. A total of 134 individuals, representing rural law enforcement agencies in more than 25 states, completed the training and returned to their communities with improved leadership and legacy-building skills. Also during FY 2012, Leading by Legacy funding allowed IACP to assist four rural law enforcement agencies with technical assistance that focused on specific problems the agencies were experiencing and provide a 2-day regional training event for agency executives, command staff, and first-line supervisors from northeastern South Dakota.

IACP’s ability to partner with local agencies and law enforcement training facilities to cohost the training has helped reduce costs and allowed the grant to be extended so that the balance of funds can be expended to conduct additional trainings. As of September 30, 2012, a total of 367 chiefs, sheriffs, and command staff officers from 235 law enforcement agencies serving rural communities in 45 states have benefitted from this leadership training.

Those who have completed the training continue to receive support through access to webinars on a variety of topics and an active e-mail list to which alumni can submit questions and seek information on topics or issues their agencies are experiencing.

During the period of the project funded through the ARRA, this training was restricted to law enforcement agencies from rural communities. Because of this restriction, IACP was forced to decline training requests from numerous small agencies that did not qualify as rural because of their geographic location near metropolitan areas. Recognizing the need of small law enforcement agencies serving communities with fewer than 60,000 residents, BJA provided nearly $450,000 of FY 2012 JAG Discretionary funds to IACP to begin providing Leading by Legacy training to these agencies over the next 2 years.

Success Stories

Below are some samples of testimony from Leading by Legacy course participants and local media:

Chief Arleigh R. Porter of the Sturgeon Bay (Wisconsin) Police Department attended training and said, “I wanted to express to you my appreciation for the extremely valuable program ‘Leading by Legacy’ that was provided to rural law enforcement leaders. Somehow, I have become one of the ‘Old Timers’ in this great profession and have had the fortune of having attended training from coast to coast across this great country of ours. The program that the IACP provided was some of the finest training that I have attended, especially in the short 2 ½ days that is allowed.”

Based on information presented during the Leading by Legacy training and assistance from IACP’s Leading by Legacy staff and instructors, Chief Jim Willis, Mount Desert (Maine) Police Department, used an online survey to ask his community to provide feedback on the services provided by his agency. The residents and business owners were pleased to be asked for their opinions, and the results indicated that the police department and its officers are doing an excellent job of serving their community. The local newspaper highlighted the results of the survey.

Volunteers in Police Service

The goal of the Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) Program, managed by IACP, is to enhance the capacity of state, local, campus, and tribal law enforcement to use volunteers. The VIPS Program serves as a resource for all law enforcement volunteer programs and efforts, and it offers print and multimedia resources and TTA to agencies interested in establishing or enhancing a law enforcement volunteer program. More than 2,260 local programs have registered, representing 256,000 volunteers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

Program accomplishments in FY 2012 include:

The VIPS web site (, which has received nearly 65 million hits since its inception, serves as a gateway to information and resources about this national initiative for law enforcement agencies and citizens.

Celebrate Safe Communities

Celebrate Safe Communities (CSC) is a national crime prevention program that takes a local approach—local people working with local law enforcement to address local issues. CSC was created in 2008 by NCPC and BJA, in partnership with NSA. The CSC web site ( aims to increase local crime prevention capacity by providing free, downloadable, and customizable community education and engagement tools, TTA materials, and other crime prevention publications and resources. For agencies struggling with cuts in crime prevention budgets, the CSC program offers law enforcement agencies, crime prevention practitioners, and others engaged in public safety a cost-effective way to address specific trends, such as home burglaries, or general crime prevention education.

The centerpiece of the CSC program is Crime Prevention Month in October, during which local sites are encouraged to host community public safety events. For the last 2 years, BJA and NCPC have selected a law enforcement theme for each week of the month based on national crime trends and feedback from local site partners. The CSC provides targeted resources to help localities address these issues.

Program accomplishments in FY 2012 include:

Campus Safety

Campus safety services vary greatly on the nation’s college and university campuses. Campus law enforcement agencies include full-service police departments (both armed and unarmed), private security operations, contractual services, and more. Such departments also vary greatly in how they relate to and share information with local and state public safety agencies. Working with organizations in the field such as the International Association of College Law Enforcement Administrators as well as with federal partners such as the COPS Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), BJA works to identify gaps in training and resources and then addresses those needs.

Under this campus safety initiative, in FY 2012 Margolis Healy & Associates continued work on Phase Two of its Develop Evidence-Based, Modern Crime Prevention Strategies for Institutions of Higher Education project by examining and identifying successful, evidence-based, and age-appropriate crime prevention programming suitable for institutions of higher education.

Additionally, Margolis Healy & Associates received a supplemental award of nearly $300,000 to examine and identify successful multidisciplinary, evidence-based safety and security assessment models for student travel abroad (including policies and processes) that would be appropriate for institutions of higher education. By and large, institutions of higher education have not implemented multidisciplinary safety and security assessment and prevention strategies for student travel abroad. However, as the demand for student travel abroad access increases, such measures are becoming more important than ever.

Finally, in FY 2012, BJA, the FBI, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) jointly sponsored a Campus Security Focus Group of experienced university police leaders to identify promising practices for providing security at campus events. The meeting was a discussion of practices that can supplement an existing security plan in order to minimize the probability of an incident; aid in apprehension of violent offenders; and maximize the ability to respond to incidents that may take place at large spectator events on college campuses.

Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification Program

Victims of crime have a great need for information about their offender’s case. Court schedules, release and parole dates, and other information can reduce the risk of repeat incidents and help prevent further victimization. The Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (SAVIN) Program, administered by BJA, was created to assist states in building, implementing, and improving victim notification capacity. By providing registered victims with timely and accurate information about any important dates and developments relating to the criminal proceedings at issue in their case, SAVIN helps protect victims of crime from further victimization and ensures that their rights are secured.

Success Stories


  • With assistance from the national SAVIN TTA Program, the Pennsylvania SAVIN program (PA SAVIN) recently redesigned the SAVIN section of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency web site, including the PA SAVIN logo. The PA SAVIN site provides a brief description of SAVIN and offers page links for specific visitors to the site—victims, law enforcement, corrections, victim service providers, and other interested parties—that provide a comprehensive list of resources.
  • The North Carolina Statewide Automated Victim Assistance and Notification (NC SAVAN) program developed and coordinated a highly successful statewide outreach and awareness campaign targeting Spanish-language communities that included print and television PSAs. The NC SAVAN program teamed up with Univision, a Spanish-language television network, to develop and air a PSA and host a talk show. The PSA tells victims how to seek help from NC SAVAN. Univision produced the PSA without charge to the program and waived the $15,000 cost of a 3-hour talk/call-in show that aired on Univision’s Spanish-language television station. The purpose of the call-in show was to educate the Hispanic community about victims’ rights, as well as NC SAVAN resources and services available to victims of crime. The various resources developed, including the television PSA, can be viewed on the NC SAVAN program web site.
  • In May 2012, New Hampshire’s new SAVIN program received technical assistance from the national SAVIN Program to conduct a roundtable discussion with 11 crime victims and survivors to help plan their SAVIN program. One of the outcomes of this highly successful and informative roundtable was that the New Hampshire SAVIN program created a SAVIN Victim/Survivor Advisory Council to help guide the implementation of its new program.

Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Assistance Program

Law enforcement agencies expend countless hours annually searching for missing persons with Alzheimer’s disease, who, if not found quickly, are at high risk of serious injury or even death. In addition, law enforcement officers may not be trained or equipped to handle the special needs of those with Alzheimer’s disease once they are found.

Since 2009, BJA has partnered with the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association, IACP, and Project Lifesaver, Inc. (PLI) to support several Alzheimer’s registries, provide devices for tracking missing persons with Alzheimer’s disease, and develop guidance and training programs. These programs help educate law enforcement agencies and their officers about the special needs of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and provide techniques and tools that officers can use when interacting with these individuals.

BJA awarded a total of nearly $900,000 to the University of Illinois and the University of South Florida for projects to create protocols for a “Holistic Approach for Law Enforcement and Communities to Manage Missing Persons with Alzheimer’s” and the “Promotion of a National Silver Alert System.” These projects will enhance efforts to protect and locate missing persons with Alzheimer’s disease.

Program accomplishments in FY 2012 include:

Witness Intimidation

AEquitas’s Improving the Justice System Response to Witness Intimidation (Initiative on Witness Intimidation [IWI]) is a BJA-funded, field-initiated project to improve the criminal justice system’s response to intimidation. The project seeks to develop, evaluate, and refine justice system practices that identify, prevent, and suppress all forms of intimidation to increase victim safety and offender accountability.

In FY 2012, IWI partnered with three pilot sites—Knoxville, Tennessee; Duluth, Minnesota; and San Diego, California—to conduct safety audits, focusing on assessing each community’s responses to witness intimidation. Each site received training on the safety audit process and initiated safety audit/data collection. IWI will prepare a final report for each site with the findings and recommendations of the safety audit and help to develop a strategy for implementing the recommendations.

The qualitative data collected thus far has provided an opportunity to create a systems approach to the assessment and reduction of witness intimidation.

Program accomplishments in FY 2012 include:

Real Crimes in Virtual Worlds Training and Technical Assistance Program

The Real Crimes in Virtual Worlds Training and Technical Assistance Program ( aims to raise the awareness of law enforcement and the broader criminal justice community to crimes occurring in or facilitated by online virtual worlds, videogames (such as Habbo or World of Warcraft), and gaming consoles (such as Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii). The embedded communications and storage features of gaming systems and virtual worlds are generally unmonitored by the law enforcement community, and the purpose of this program is to enhance law enforcement’s investigative and response capacities.

Recent trends indicate that crimes—including online enticement of minors, possession and distribution of child pornography, identity theft, fraud, money laundering, and coordination of prostitution rings and gang activities—are increasingly prevalent in these online environments. Many members of the law enforcement community are unaware that criminals are now using these technologies and their embedded communications options to carry out illicit activities, and agencies charged with responding to these crimes often lack the proper training, tools, and techniques to respond effectively to reported incidents involving modern, Internet-connected technologies.

In FY 2012, Drakontas LLC, BJA’s TTA provider, continued to offer a joint in-person classroom and a web-based, distance-learning training curriculum with support from Drexel University’s Criminal Justice Department.

Program accomplishments in FY 2012 include:

Anti-Animal Cruelty

BJA’s National Animal Cruelty and Fighting Initiative for the Prevention and Reduction of Violent Crime Prosecution Technical Assistance Initiative provides prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and advocates with the skills they need to prosecute and investigate animal cruelty and fighting crimes. This initiative focuses on the link between animal abuse and interpersonal violence, especially in the areas of domestic violence, child abuse, and elder abuse.

BJA partners with the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA) for this initiative. In FY 2012, APA’s goal was to provide TTA to the field to assist with current investigations and cases, increase capabilities at the local level, and educate prosecutors, judges, law enforcement officers, and advocates on the link between animal abuse and interpersonal violence. Three objectives were identified  for this project: (1) increase the knowledge gained about animal cruelty by continuing to develop training and resources for prosecutors and allied criminal justice professionals and advocates; (2) develop an awareness campaign on the connection between interpersonal violence and animal abuse; and (3) design training for law enforcement to increase officer safety while reducing pet shootings.

The APA web site ( features searchable publications and resources on prosecuting animal cruelty and fighting cases, including multiple publications and presentations on the link between interpersonal violence and animal abuse. The web site also includes a listserv for technical assistance, publishes the quarterly Lex Canis newsletters and other training materials, compiles state animal abuse case and statute summaries, promotes training opportunities, and features links to organizations working on animal cruelty investigation and prosecution efforts.

Program accomplishments in FY 2012 include:

Success Stories


  • The APA’s Animal Welfare listserv has been active since the project’s inception in 2009 and continues to add members both nationally and internationally. Last spring in Atlanta, a violent domestic abuse crime was perpetrated during which the victim’s dog was beaten to death. The crime was assigned to an experienced animal abuse prosecutor. Despite her experience, she needed advice and information from other jurisdictions and needed it quickly to prepare for court. When she posted the request for assistance, she received more than 20 offers of assistance within the hour. She informed the APA staff that because of the project’s listserv, she was able to proceed in the manner necessary to hold the offender accountable for his crimes.
  • The APA web site ( includes state statute and case information from 28 states. Although some sites have state-based information, they do not include the cases that define or explain the statutes. Many prosecutors and investigators are not aware of all of the animal cruelty laws and use this resource to help find the appropriate statute or check on recent case decisions. On a recent case, a Pennsylvania prosecutor was faced with a difficult filing decision as to whether the facts presented to her constituted cruelty or neglect under the Commonwealth’s statutory animal cruelty scheme. Her colleagues recommended that she check the case summaries on the APA web site. Upon reading the statutes and cases, she found that she could proceed against the animal abuser on the charges presented to her by the investigating agency.
  • During the summer of 2012, APA received an e-mail from a prosecutor in South Africa who was working on a dog-fighting case. He had been presented with a weight-pulling defense and wondered if that defense was being used in the United States. Both APA staff and a member of the ACAC assisted in providing information about the use of this defense and methods to overcome the defense if in fact the accused is harming and abusing his dogs by engaging in dog fighting. The prosecutor explained that he was drawn to the APA materials, including the Developing an Evidence-Base for the Understanding and Prevention of Dog Fighting Crimes monograph published in FY 2012, because he was impressed that prosecutors, rather than advocacy groups, were helping other prosecutors on these issues.

Law Enforcement Forecasting Group

The Law Enforcement Forecasting Group (LEFG) helps BJA anticipate emerging crime trends and identify developments in tactics, strategies, and technologies that might assist law enforcement agencies provide quality police services. Composed of 20 law enforcement executives and criminal justice researchers, LEFG members provide environmental scanning that BJA uses to develop new demonstration programs to test concepts and to create TTA programs that are immediately relevant to the law enforcement field.

LEFG members have identified  the five top priorities for BJA law enforcement programs: (1) crime analysis capacity building, (2) gun violence, (3) information sharing, (4) human resources (recruiting, training, retaining), and (5) social media.

Beyond providing guidance, the group has produced two reports: