Police Chiefs Desk Reference State Chapters Now Available
Since 1997 the IACP has been supporting smaller agencies through the Smaller Agency Technical Assistance Program funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. In 2003 the program was expanded to include the New Police Chief Mentoring initiative. The project is designed to render leadership and policy guidance to new chiefs as they begin their tenure through mentoring assistance and through the dissemination of the IACP Police Chiefs Desk Reference (PCDR).
The PCDR, a major component of the mentoring project, was designed with the new chief in mind. This document contains a wealth of resources to assist law enforcement executives in their new role. There is information about IACP's programs and services, including current projects and publications. Chapters are included on leadership, ethics, policies and procedures, accreditation, and funding.
The desk reference also includes sample internal and community surveys and information about state associations of chiefs of police and other resources, as well as best practices guides written specifically for smaller agencies on a wide range of topics.
Mentoring project staff members are collaborating with state associations of chiefs of police from around the United States to locate new chiefs and connect them to the resources of their association and the mentoring project. These efforts include working together with the state associations to create a PCDR chapter for each state. Each state chapter contains state-specific key contacts, legislative issues, training opportunities, association resources, and other information for new chiefs. The states of Georgia and New York are the first to release their chapters, which can now be downloaded online.
Learn more, request a copy of the PCDR, and download your state chapter at (www.theiacp.org/research/RCDChiefMentoring.html). For more information, call Kristine Saltarelli at 800-843-4227, extension 338, or send an e-mail message to her at (email@example.com).
Federal Preparedness Grant Programs Available Online
The National Incident Management System (NIMS) Integration Center is making available a preliminary list of federal preparedness grant programs on its Web page at (www.fema.gov/nims). The information was provided by federal departments and agencies to the center and includes federal preparedness funding programs with state and local entities such as cooperative agreements and memorandums of understandings as well as grants and contracts.
The NIMS Integration Center is making this preliminary list available to help state and local entities identify funding streams that may be affected in connection with NIMS implementation requirements. This should not be considered a definitive list of federal preparedness grants and agreements. Disaster assistance funds are not tied to NIMS compliance.
For more information about federal assistance programs for state, local, and tribal governments, view the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance at (www.cfda.gov). For more information about DHS Office of Domestic Preparedness grants, see (www.ojp.usdoj.gov/odp).
Send questions about NIMS to (NIMS-Integration-Center@dhs.gov), or call 202-646-3850.
National Sex Offender Public Registry
Children are America's most precious resource. Protecting them from harm, especially from sexual predators, should be one of our highest priorities.
On July 20, 2005, the Department of Justice launched the National Sex Offender Public Registry (NSOPR), a searchable Web site that links state and territory sex offender public registries and allows users access to public information about sex offenders throughout the country. The NSOPR, which currently links to 22 state registries, offers information on almost 200,000 registered sex offenders nationwide. In the coming months, all states will link to the site, giving the public access to information on all 500,000 registered sex offenders in the United States.
The NSOPR went live two months after Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales directed the U.S. Department's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) to design a national site that would link at least 20 state sex offender public registries and be available for public use in 60 days. Real-time access to public sex offender information, Gonzales said, is one critical resource for Americans to help identify sex offenders beyond their own streets or states. The department exceeded its goal by linking 22 states. In a 12-hour period after its unveiling, the site received 22 million hits, almost 1,000 hits per second.
A single query from any Web-capable computer allows NSOPR to deliver instant matches on sex offenders, including detailed information and often photographs, from state public registries. Mirroring industry standards, Web services and the Justice Department's Global Justice eXtensible Markup Language (XML), a common computer language that standardizes data and facilitates data sharing, establish a link between NSOPR and state sex offender public registries. Users can initiate local, state, and national searches based on a name, zip code, county, city, or town. Plans are in place to provide additional NSOPR options, especially radius searches and mapping capabilities.
America's communities have long awaited a national site to search for sex offenders. Nonetheless, the response to the department's newest resource is staggering. A look behind the screen reveals three keys to NSOPR's success:
- NSOPR was built in partnership with federal, state, and private-sector partners. That a national search site was constructed in just 60 days is a tribute to the coordinated efforts of all levels of government and the private sector as they focused on the issue of how to better protect children and communities today, not days or months from now.
- NSOPR allows states to maintain control over their data. States are actively participating in this unprecedented public safety opportunity in large part because they retain control over their public sex offender data rather than submit it to a costly or difficult to maintain national repository. By design, once a query is entered, NSOPR simply delivers users to the state site hosting the information.
- NSOPR is cost-effective for both citizens and states. Unlike some Web sites that claim to offer national sex offender information, NSOPR does not require users to submit extensive personal information or pay a fee to access the information they seek. Equally important, states bear no cost to link to the site, which has cost the Department of Justice and its partners just under $1 million to design and deliver.
The NSOPR is in its formative stages. OJP continues to work with states and territories, all of which have indicated their intent to participate, to link them to the site. To ensure the accuracy and timeliness of the data citizens seek, OJP will provide technical assistance to states as they implement and enhance their sex offender public registries. From a technology standpoint, NSOPR band width, as well as load capacity, will be added to enlarge the "tunnel" that queries travel through, allowing searches to reach state public sex offender registries more quickly.
The NSOPR, at (www.nsopr.gov), currently gives millions of parents, grandparents, and other concerned citizens easy-to-use and free access to information on two out of every five registered sex offenders in the United States. Thanks to the National Sex Offender Public Registry, they can now take a proactive and meaningful step in protecting a child's life.
Training Conference Targets Video Community
The Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Video Association, International, Inc. (LEVA) is gearing up for its 16th annual training and development conference. This year's event takes place the week of October 3 at the Coeur d'Alene Resort in Idaho. Besides three specialized two-day pre-conference classes, what follows is three full days of information-packed sessions covering forensic video and video production.
Featured during the main conference will be the international "Video and the Law" seminar. It exposes the facts and fiction concerning the admissibility of video evidence in criminal and civil courts. The impact of the so-called CSI effect on jury and investigator expectations and the challenges presented by new digital video technology are examined in depth as guest speakers explore the question of how far science fiction can push the development of bona fide scientific techniques in this video age.
Cosponsored by LEVA and the American Bar Association's Section of Science and Technology Law, this interactive and highly visual program is designed to stimulate awareness and discussion of critical admissibility issues for video evidence in the 21st century.
This special session concludes with a roundtable discussion, hosted by the American Bar Association and moderated by a federal court judge. The concluding section highlights legal concerns regarding the legitimate use of digital video evidence in criminal courts. Visit the LEVA Web site for details and special registration to attend the entire conference or just the seminar, (www.leva.org).■