Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $428,122)
This program is funded under both the Edward Byrne Memorial Competitive Grant Program (Byrne Competitive Program) and the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. Authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2009 (Pub. L. 111-8), the Byrne Competitive Program helps local communities improve the capacity of state and local justice systems and provides for national support efforts including training and technical assistance programs strategically targeted to address local needs. The JAG Program (42 U.S.C. 3751) is the primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions, and JAG funds support all components of the criminal justice system. The JAG Program authorization also states that "the Attorney General may reserve not more than 5 percent, to be granted to 1 or more States or units of local government, for 1 or more of the purposes specified in section 3751 of this title, pursuant to his determination that the same is necessary" (1) to combat, address, or otherwise respond to precipitous or extraordinary increases in crime, or in a type or types of crime (42 U.S.C. 3756).
The National Initiative: Encouraging Innovation: Field-Initiated Programs is designed to strengthen the criminal justice system by challenging those in the field to identify and define emerging or chronic systemic issues faced by one or more components of the criminal justice continuum (includes but not limited to law enforcement, corrections, courts, and community collaborations) and to propose innovative solutions to address these issues.
The Council of State Governments, through their Justice Center and in partnership with the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) will use this award to address gaps in the information needed to guide and assess law enforcement agencies' safe and effective responses to people with mental illnesses. The proposed project will identify barriers to agencies' data collection efforts and develop strategies to overcome them. It will advance criminal justice policy and practice nationally by empowering the country's law enforcement agencies to develop data-driven initiatives and enable cross-site evaluation of Specialized Policing Responses (SPRs). Staff will survey law enforcement agencies engaged in SPRs and host a working group meeting of national experts to identify promising practices and new technologies to facilitate officer reporting, data management, and data-driven policy. Several jurisdictions will be beta sites to test and evaluate innovative strategies and tools. Findings, recommendations, lessons learned, and sample forms will be disseminated using extensive mental health, law enforcement, and other networks.