Bureau of Justice Assistance
The VALOR Officer Safety and Wellness Program, funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, offers a number of free e-learning programs, ranging from podcasts to videos to online training modules, click here.
Featured among those are a four-part health and wellness podcast series that addresses issues such as strength training, cardiovascular and functional fitness, and healthy meal planning. Other openly available resources include videos on sleep deprivation and warning lights, and online training on wearing, and caring for, ballistic-resistant vests. Even more resources can be accessed by registering with the VALOR Program; visit this website. Access to restricted resources is limited to sworn law enforcement professionals, and materials can be used only for training purposes.
BJA’s Preventing Violence Against Law Enforcement and Ensuring Officer Resilience and Survivability (VALOR) Initiative is a suite of programs that seeks to improve the immediate and long-term safety, wellness and resilience of law enforcement officers. Its approach includes delivering no-cost training and professional education, conducting research, developing and providing resources, and establishing partnerships that benefit law enforcement officers. To learn more about the VALOR Initiative go to this website.
National Institute of Justice
The National Institute of Justice-funded Priority Criminal Justice Needs Initiative recently convened a workshop panel of correctional administrators and researchers to look at ways technology innovations can help community corrections agencies handle increased caseloads with diminishing resources. The resulting report, Leveraging Technology to Enhance Community Supervision: Identifying Needs to Address Current and Emerging Concerns, looks at two main questions: What challenges do community corrections agencies face in terms of leveraging new technologies, and how can these challenges be addressed? and What are the high-priority needs associated with leveraging technology in community corrections?
The panel agreed that technology advances can improve officer safety and skills, help agencies improve their operations, and help maintain accountability and facilitate positive behavioral change. The report offers more detail on those key findings and includes 18 recommendations touching on technologies such as virtual reality, wearables, video analytics and location monitoring technology. The recommendations also look at research needs and identifying best practices in several areas.
The November 2019 report can be read online or downloaded as a PDF from here.
Forensic Technology Center of Excellence
The NIJ Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) continues to produce episodes of the DNA season of its ongoing Just Science podcast series, which focuses on DNA evidence and its use in forensic investigation. Topics addressed in the series include solving the Golden State Killer case, investigative genetic genealogy, labs and Lean Six Sigma, genetic variation and the post-conviction dynamic.
The always-evolving use of DNA evidence has had a significant impact on the criminal justice system. Since the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence met in in the 1990s, DNA has become one of the most respected disciplines in forensic science.
All episodes can be accessed on the FTCoE website. The FTCoE also provides related reading on its website, which provides links to several reports on NIJ-funded research reports on the use of familial DNA in the criminal justice field.
National Institute of Justice
Measuring the Criminal Justice System Impacts of Marijuana Legalization and Decriminalization Using State Data (July 2019) details a National Institute of Justice (NIJ)- and Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)-funded research project designed to analyze the impact of marijuana legalization and decriminalization on state criminal justice system resources. The project goal was to analyze quantitative and qualitative data in 11 targeted states to address three research questions:
Analysis of project data suggests that legalizing the recreational use of marijuana resulted in fewer marijuana-related arrests and court cases; legalizing marijuana did not have a noticeable impact on indicators in states that bordered those that legalized; and there were no noticeable indications of an increase in arrests related to transportation or trafficking offenses in states along the northern or southern borders. Interviews with law enforcement officials did identify a number of concerns about the legalization of marijuana, including the potency of marijuana products, increased marijuana use among youth, the influx of people from out-of-town or out-of-state, and increases in incidents of drugged driving.
Download the report from here.
Police Executive Research Forum
Visit here to download The Workforce Crisis, and What Police Agencies Are Doing About It, a new publication from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).
Produced using information from an extensive survey on recruit and retention and a task force meeting, the publication discusses the current nationwide crisis in recruiting and retaining law enforcement officers. Agencies nationwide are experiencing decreased applications, early exits and higher retirement rates, resulting in a significant shortage of officers.
The report looks at issues such as identifying and attracting nontraditional candidates and concerns about finding young officers with the right skill sets. It includes key takeaways, trends and statistics, and provides examples of successful recruitment and retention polices.
Forensic Technology Center of Excellence
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) recently released a workforce calculator, housed on the FTCoE website.
This beta version of the calculator helps laboratories identify the personnel required to support a given level of casework within each area of identification and the associated investment in capital equipment to support that level of activity. As a proof of concept, the calculator was developed from a selection of laboratories that met a standard of 90-percent laboratory-wide efficiency using the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Maximus award criteria.
An econometric analysis examined laboratory performance in light of the type of jurisdiction (state, metro or regional), size population served and state crime rates (violent and property). Resulting econometric models estimate the relationship between the full-time equivalent (FTE) workforce and achievement of the 90-percent efficiency standard for laboratory analysis.
Laboratories are encouraged to test the calculator and report findings to principal investigator Paul Speaker (email@example.com). Their insights will be incorporated into a more detailed econometric analysis used in the final version. For more information and to download the beta tool, visit here.