Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and National Sheriffs’ Association

The Animal Cruelty as a Gateway Crime project was designed to build the capacity of all participating law enforcement agencies to recognize that animal cruelty crimes can serve as precursors to more violent crimes, as a co-occurring crime to other types of offenses, and as an interrelated crime to other offenses such as domestic violence and elder abuse. Armed with this knowledge, law enforcement officers can take steps both to solve current crimes and to prevent future crimes from occurring, according to a recent report about the project.

The National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) facilitated meetings during its 2015 winter conference to foster greater law enforcement awareness of the dangers of animal abuse and its role as an indicator of other criminal behavior, and to foster a collaborative relationship between law enforcement, prosecutors, judges and animal welfare advocates. The NSA and its partner organization, the National Coalition on Violence Against Animals, developed several educational tools for law enforcement personnel:

  • A report, Animal Cruelty as a Gateway Crime, to raise awareness among the law enforcement community.
  • Informational videos on the relationship between animal cruelty and other crimes.
  • A free smartphone app that officers can access when responding to calls for service. Some features of the app include a Response section on what questions to ask when responding to calls for service and recognizing the interrelationship between animal cruelty calls and other criminal offenses and behaviors; a Training section that includes training videos; and a Resources section.

For more information and to view the report, go here.

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The Justice Technology Information Center is a component of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center System, a program of the National Institute of Justice. JTIC serves as an information resource for technology and equipment related to law enforcement, corrections and courts, and hosts the NIJ Compliance Testing Program, a voluntary equipment standards and testing program for ballistic- and stab-resistant body armor and other officer safety equipment, which conducts equipment testing, reviews and analyzes testing data and disseminates results.

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