Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $339,574)
This project has the aims of 1) enhancing prosecutors’ ability to effectively and sustainably prevent and respond to domestic violence in Jefferson County and to reduce prosecutor caseloads to manageable levels through innovative and practical data collection, collaboration, and analysis. The project will develop and establish a process and unit to undertake innovative prosecution methods for combatting domestic violence. This unit will bring together prosecutors, criminal intelligence analysts, and law enforcement officers to provide predictive/preventative actions to address domestic violence issues before they become problematic and to effectively and efficiently prosecute cases filed. This will be accomplished by dramatically improving law enforcement data on domestic violence that overcomes the problems of data collection by police and other parts of the justice system. The service area for the project is Jefferson County Alabama, which is the largest and most densely populated county in Alabama. With a population of more than 659,000 people and 27 police departments covering 1,124 square miles, Jefferson County is the largest jurisdiction in the state. Jefferson County also has the highest crime rate in Alabama. It is estimated there were over 20,000 calls for service for domestic violence between the Birmingham Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in the last two years. Jefferson County is a high poverty area across most of the county, and almost all of Birmingham is above 20% poverty rate. A substantial majority of the people who will benefit from this project live in the most impoverished parts of the county, including cases referred to the Jefferson County District Attorney from Birmingham. Deliverables will be produced for each of the goals of the project, and include: model data sharing agreements that can be utilized by other agencies addressing data integration techniques and variables to capture for effective prosecution, a policy and procedures manual that can be shared with other agencies for creating and operating a multidisciplinary domestic violence unit to alleviate prosecutor caseload and increase prosecution effectiveness, geospatial analyses proven effective in domestic violence cases, a model risk assessment tool that can be shared with other agencies and a policy and procedures manual for creating and operating a high-risk domestic violence team, data on the number of cases and outcomes where determinations were made concerning access to firearms and techniques for prevention of perpetrators of domestic violence from having access to firearms that can be used against victims.