National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
The 2010 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) is April 18–24, 2010. Each April since 1981, the Office for Victims of Crimes (OVC), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, has assisted communities in the annual observances of NCVRW by promoting victims’ rights and honoring crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf. Several resources for local departments are available.
NCVRW Resource Guide: The 2010 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week resource guide is available online at http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw2010/pdf/2010ResourceGuide.pdf. The guide was developed to help communities promote awareness of crime victim issues; it includes camera-ready art files, public awareness posters, the 2010 theme DVD and public service announcement, and much more.
Multimedia Gallery: OVC’s Gallery of multimedia products promoting crime victims’ rights and services is available to local departments. Items such as posters, promotional materials, and photographs are available for promoting victims’ rights. All artwork from OVC is free for download and can be used with public service advertisements, billboards, and Web sites.
For more information, visit http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw.
IACP Online Resource: Created and successfully field-tested by 11 law enforcement agencies around the United States, http://www.responsetovictims.org features 21st century approaches and effective strategies in the areas of leadership, partnering, training, and performance monitoring that place victims at the center of public safety efforts and response to crime.
The site hosts four volumes of the Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims Strategy and a great number of victim-related publications and materials that will assist any law enforcement agency in making significant strides towards serving this important constituency in a more comprehensive way with minimum investment. On-site and off-site technical assistance is available to agencies interested in strategy implementation.
For more information, visit http://www.responsetovictims.org or contact Jeff Ebersole at email@example.com.
IACP Gun Violence Reduction Initiative—Member Assistance Sought
The IACP’s Gun Violence Reduction Initiative, supported by the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation, seeks to identify and promote programs and strategies that aid in reducing gun violence. Current efforts are focused on the development of a practical, pro-active guide for law enforcement on gun violence reduction to assist law enforcement agencies in identifying gun violence–related problems within their communities and support them in implementing concrete solutions.
In developing this guide, the IACP is seeking information about tools and strategies used by law enforcement agencies to address and prevent gun violence. Also of interest are department efforts to engage community partners in ending gun violence.
Please share strategies, tools, and suggestions by contacting Nancy Turner, Senior Program Manager, with IACP’s Gun Violence Reduction Initiative at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-THEIACP, extension 807.
Visit http://www.theiacp.org/research/RCDGunCrime.html for more information.
Enhancing the Law Enforcement Intelligence Capacity: Recommendations from the IACP’s Strategic Planning Session
This report presents the findings and results of a July 2009 IACP meeting of law enforcement and criminal intelligence leaders to assess the progress toward a national intelligence-sharing approach among all U.S. law enforcement agencies. The meeting was cosponsored by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE). The meeting and this summary report both focused exclusively on two goals: (1) to enhance law enforcement’s engagement in information sharing, and (2) to expand the utilization of fusion centers by law enforcement. The report presents a set of recommended actions proposed by the participants to accomplish both goals.
An electronic version of the report is available by visiting the IACP Web site at http://www.theiacp.org or can be obtained by contacting Carrie Corsoro at email@example.com.
NamUs National Training Academies
Beginning in 2010, the first two of five National Missing and Unidentified Persons (NamUs) training academies will be held. Each academy will train multidisciplinary NamUs teams—one from each state—creating a national network of case management resources for future education and training of other participants in the investigation and eventual resolution of missing and unidentified person cases in the United States.
The ultimate goals of the program are promoting and facilitating consistent data collection and sharing protocols critical for solving missing and unidentified person cases. Academy participants are nominated by the appropriate leadership of various stakeholder organizations to develop a five-person team in each state to form a NamUs investigation training team.
NamUs team members will represent the following National Institute of Justice’s partner agencies, organizations, and constituencies:
Law Enforcement: The law enforcement representative is a sworn officer with a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency or department of public safety. This individual should have “training officer” status with experience in the investigation of missing persons, specifically adults. Team members should be active members of their state, national, or international professional organizations (National Sheriffs’ Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, and so on) and considered to be in good standing with the agency of employment with at least five years’ experience in the field of missing persons investigation.
Clearing House Agent: The missing persons clearinghouse representative is an employee of a state or local government agency, including a law enforcement agency, responsible for the evaluation and distribution of missing persons data, including “adults.” This team member will be considered to be in good standing with his or her employer and have at least five years’ full-time experience in the field of missing person investigations.
Forensic Specialist Expert: The forensic specialist representative is considered an “expert” in forensics and a member in good standing with the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) from one of the following AAFS membership sections: Criminalistics, Odontology, Pathology/Biology, or Physical Anthropology. This individual will hold appropriate status (that is, diplomat) within the chosen specialty and have knowledge of various scientific identification techniques including DNA, fingerprint, dental, and radiographic applications in the identification of missing persons. This team member should be considered to be in good standing with professional organizations such as the International Association of Identification (IAI) or the American Board of Criminalistics (ABC), with documented experience within the specialty area equal to five years’ full-time employment within the past ten years.
Medical Examiner/Coroner: This representative is a Medical Examiner (ME), Coroner (C) or ME/C Investigator. This team member will be a member in good standing with, or certified by the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME), the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners (IACME) and/or the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (ABMDI), with at least five years’ full-time experience in the area of medicolegal death investigation.
Victim Advocate: The victim advocate representative is a paid or volunteer member of at least one of the “recognized” not-for-profit state or national missing persons organizations (DOE Missing Person Network, National Center for Missing Adults, and so forth). This individual has a proven track record of professional conduct while working with the many “participants” in the investigation, location, and identification of missing persons. In addition, this person shall understand the personal and professional diligences required in investigations of this type and complexity. This team member should be considered to be in good standing with the community and local law enforcement agency or agencies.
Team members will be nominated and selected based on their ability to participate and will fulfill the roles of NamUs case manager and educator in the year(s) following completion of the academy.
Participants’ expenses to attend the training academy are paid by a cooperative agreement with the Department of Justice with certain federal limitations (for example, federal per diem rates).
There will be two academies in 2010:
Midwestern Academy in St. Louis, Missouri—July 19–21, 2010.
Southwestern Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico—November 8–10, 2010.
There will be three academies in 2011 (dates to be determined):
Northeastern Academy in Baltimore, Maryland
Southeastern Academy in Atlanta, Georgia, or Nashville, Tennessee
Western Academy Los Angeles, California
Departments interested in participating in the academies and others seeking more information, including access to the nomination form for the NamUs academies, should visit http://academies.orainc.com.
Lessons from D.A.R.E.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, and the Center for Court Innovation has released a new research document entitled Lessons From the Battle Over D.A.R.E.: The Complicated Relationship between Research and Practice.
This research shows that there have been dozens of articles written about D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) that tell a similar story: school officials, the public, and law enforcement support the program over the objections of academic researchers. To date, there have been more than 30 academic evaluations of the program that have documented negligible long-term impacts on teen drug use. Despite these studies, D.A.R.E. is taught in about 75 percent of school districts across the United States. More than 15,000 police officers participate as D.A.R.E instructors, providing educational sessions about drugs and drug abuse largely targeted at fifth and sixth graders.
This BJA-funded research reveals that in the case of D.A.R.E., many local practitioners were able to sift through the competing claims and make reasoned judgments about whether to keep the program. In general, local officials reached their own conclusions about what made the most sense for their jurisdictions. In some places, this has meant that D.A.R.E. is still a vital, active presence; in others, this has meant that D.A.R.E. has been scrapped.
Since its inception in 1983 under the leadership of Los Angeles’ police chief Darryl Gates, the D.A.R.E. program has become a well-known and widespread crime prevention program. D.A.R.E.’s model is relatively straightforward: Police officers are trained to lead educational sessions in local schools that are designed to help students resist peer pressure and live drug-free lives. The program’s reach is remarkable:
- D.A.R.E. has been responsible for training hundreds of thousands of police officers and educating millions of children.
- The program has spread to 43 different countries.
- In recognition of these accomplishments,
every year for the last 18 years, four consecutive U.S. presidents have set aside a day in April as “National D.A.R.E. Day.”
To its critics, D.A.R.E. is a cautionary tale of how criminal justice programs can live on despite evidence of failure. To its defenders, D.A.R.E. is a case study of resilience in the face of adversity.
The new BJA-funded research is an effort to examine the D.A.R.E. story. In particular, it seeks to unpack the complicated relationship between research and practice by examining a case where practitioners and researchers clashed.
For the report, visit the Center for Court Innovation Web site: www.courtinnovation.org/_uploads/documents/DARE.pdf. ■