Today, policing is an incredibly important areas of focus within the field of Criminal Justice. Due to a number of recent high profile officer-involved shootings and subsequent community protests, traditional policing strategies (Use of Force/Stop-and-Frisk) have come under greater public scrutiny. Simultaneously, policing technology is constantly changing, as departments are finding more efficient ways to track crime (CompStat), allocate their scarce resources, and monitor the actions of individual officers (Body Cameras). As police departments continue to evolve, they must find ways to collect and analyze all available data in order to create policies, strategies and tactics that both improve public safety and increase community trust.
Under this climate, CJI is working to advance the field of policing, further police reform efforts, and enhance police capacity. CJI partners with law enforcement agencies to collect and analyze available data, assess department policies and practices, and provide training and technical assistance. Additionally, CJI works with police departments to align their policies and training curriculum with evidence based practices as well as to develop strategies to implement systemic changes.
Examples of our work in this area include:
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office’s Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance
CJI is working with the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to conduct an evaluation of their Collaborative Reform Initiative - Technical Assistance (CRI-TA). CRI-TA serves as a road map for law enforcement reform by developing long term strategies to address significant issues such as prevalence of officer-involved shootings or uses of force, and to improve trust between police agencies and the communities they serve by providing a means to organizational and cultural change. COPS-designated technical assistance providers conduct a thorough assessment and then makes recommendations based on the recommendation findings. The assessment is followed by 18 months of implementation and monitoring. There are currently seven sites engaged in CRI-TA in different stages of the process. CJI will primarily be working with the three sites that have completed or nearly completed CRI-TA:
- Las Vegas Metro Police Department
- Spokane Police Department
- Philadelphia Police Department
In order to evaluate the CRI-TA process, CJI has been working to:
- Provide an implementation overview at three key sites
- Conceptualize site-specific research questions linked to the specific focus areas of CRI-TA
- Operationalize performance indicators to answer the research questions
- Collect and analyze data, including both quantitative data from the police departments and qualitative data from key stakeholders both internal and external to the police department
- Conduct a client satisfaction assessment across seven CRI-TA sites to gauge satisfaction with the CRI-TA process
Shannon Community Safety Initiative
With funding from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, CJI works as the local action research partner with the City of Fall River's Community Safety Initiative (CSI). We work closely with Fall River partners to use data to help guide and assess collaborative efforts to reduce youth gang violence. The project includes gathering and analyzing a variety of data to help refine the problem definition and intervention strategies; providing ongoing feedback and recommendations to guide improvements; and documenting the activities and impact of the CSI a case study evaluation of the initiative.
Law enforcement is a key component of the Shannon CSI strategy, leading suppression efforts, providing updates on the gang problem in the community, and engaging with service providers. As part of our work with the Shannon Group, we:
- Chair the law enforcement subcommittee, composed of police, probation, parole, and sheriff’s department representatives
- Analyze crime data to track youth violence and gang crimes
- Create crime maps depicting the location of youth violence
- Maintain a suppression list of high impact gang-involved and violent youth
- Provide technical assistance to police to facilitate the tracking of key performance measures and progress reporting
Boston Prisoner Reentry Mapping
CJI was contracted by the Bureau of Justice Assistance to provide technical assistance to the City of Boston in response to the unexpected release of inmates from state prison as a result of the Hinton Drug Lab Scandal. CJI worked closely with the city of Boston to prepare for these releases. This included:
- Analyzing data from the Boston Police Department and the Department of Correction, CJI created an aggregate profile of the drug lab releases.
- Creating maps to depicting where releases were returning to, the locations of service providers, and the subway lines of Boston’s public transit system.
- Facilitating small group meetings with human service agencies that could be impacted by the release of the drug lab inmates including those agencies working in the areas of jobs and employment, housing and homelessness, and substance abuse and mental health.